Behind every transfer and new contract is a football agent who must work hard in order to achieve these results. Some agents are in the business to make as much money as possible while some do genuinely have the players and clubs best interests at heart. Kevin Sharp of Palm Sports management, a UK based agency that have Kalvin Phillips, Lewis O’Brien and Liam Palmer on their books, definitely have their players at the heart of what they do. Kevin had played professional football for a number of clubs including Leeds United, Wigan Athletic and Huddersfield Town and he didn’t know what the next chapter in his life would involve. “I was not long retired and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and this seem like a perfect fit with football having been my life and all that I have known”. He got into being an agent through a friend of his who believed that due to his fifteen year playing career that he could offer knowledge and contacts within the game. Kevin believes that his main role as a football agent is to help raise the profile of the players and negotiate the best possible contracts for them, but he also likes to build a healthy relationship, stating “ I like to have a family feel with the players where there is a tight chemistry between us”. He also believes that it should never be about the money for both him and the player when choosing their next club “primarily in every instance it’s never about money, always about the right club, style of play, logistics and the level of the club interested”.
Many from the outside looking in would think that an agent will just turn up at the club, negotiate a contract and then leave. However, there is much more that goes into a day and life of a football agent. When describing what a normal week would look like, Kevin said “I watch up to 4-6 games per week in a normal week, watching my clients as well as looking to recruit new ones. In between that I’m meeting clubs to keep up relationships, plus seeing what they are looking for in each transfer window. I also catch up with players during the week for lunch or coffee making sure everything is good with them”. This is what a normal week looks like, but is deadline day as hectic as it looks on the TV? “It can be yes, moves sometimes come up last minute so you have to be prepared up until the 11th hour”. This isn’t particularly something Kevin likes do and would rather get any deal done early so that his clients have plenty of time to make what could potentially be a life changing decision, both personally and professionally.
Stats within football have become an important element in trying to gain an edge on competitors and within the agent world, this is no different. Agents and companies associated with them watch hundreds of games per week between staff member to try and find the next big star. Kevin, who has recently invested in a new up to date stats company called I-Scout believes that it has been a useful tool so far “its been very beneficial for us as a business but also for the players and clubs to compare my players against there other targets”. The football agency can be a dog eat dog world at times and Kevin found this out the hard way. Having being heavily involved in a move for a foreign player to the premier league, both the player’s agent and club he moved to failed to acknowledge this and Kevin received nothing from the deal. He believed that the deal wouldn’t have happened without him “the move one hundred percent wouldn’t have happened without my contacts, it was a steep learning curve for me in this industry”. Money is ultimately power within the football industry but having the players best interests at heart is important and the two together will equal long term growth.
Written by Thomas Wilson.