Phone rings. It has done it before. However in January it rings in a bit different tone.
- How are you, remember me, I helped you with the Premier League connections?
I remember him. I donít remember any help asked or given by him. I donít really know him. I only know he is an agent. So I am not too keen to talk to him, I would just like to try to jerrymaguire him, but I guess they only shout ďShow me the moneyĒ in the movies.
- What is your situation? I know you are out of contract end of this season, he says.
I can feel he is waiting for me to say something to this. I donít. I just think how does he know? I guess it is part of agents job to have their sources about every playersí situation.
- You are a good player and you have done well this season, he continues.
What is he on about, I think. I have been often injured and been in and out of the team producing nothing special, it really hasnít been a good season for me. Doesnít he understand or follow football, or is he just trying to butter me up. It is the latter one. Agents often do that. And where were all these encouraging calls when I was injured and not playing?
- You are one of the most interesting players in the division, he keeps on lying.
I have to say though that when I was younger I found it flattering that an agent called me in the first place. It made me feel important. And I was naive enough to believe their words. And in a way I wanted it to, because it is nice to hear good things about oneself. Now I just think does he have a point or is he just sniffing around?
- I might have a team for you, would you be interested playing abroad?
I am happy at Palace, but I guess it doesnít harm me to listen what this man has to say. Especially because I am unemployed at the end of the season, so I might as well keep my options open. I ask what kind of interest and from where.
- I canít really tell you yet, but the negotiations are quite far already, he says.
Hmm.. I think to myself that how can there be any negotiations about me by a man I hardly know to a club that I donít know.
- Who is presenting you at the moment? he asks.
I tell about my agent and there we go again. Every time I speak to an agent they love to slugger off other agents. And of course they remember to mention that themselves are the only trustworthy agency with best connections. I am not really interested in that so I convince him, that the conversation is not going anywhere if he doesnít tell me the team he is on about.
- It is Spanish club.. Sporting Gijon.. they are very keen on you.
I know immediately that the team and the interest are just made up. I donít know whether I get it from the hesitation in his voice or my past experience from these kinds of situations. They all say that they have a team for you. I think there isnít a team anymore in Europe that hasnít been after me in some point. Obviously that is not true. That is the truth agents are trying to sell. Normally there is no real interest, only false promises and sometimes I have even been fooled by them. I have learned my lessons and I advice him to contact my club and my agent to see what they have to say about this.
As expected I can hear hesitation from the other end.
- It is still bit early days but I will contact when I know more. It would actually be better if we didnít tell about this to anyone yet. But it is just one of the options we can offer you. I also know that Everton is looking for a player like you. We have a very good contact with them.
Now I start to get bit annoyed. I know for fact that they donít really like me or have a use for me at the moment. However I also know that the reality in football is that many moves are made only because somebody knows somebody and there is something for both of them. It is dodgy but it often works like that. I donít. I ask that what does he actually want from me.
- Why donít we meet and talk about things? he says.
I am not happy with that. What is there to talk about he canít say now on the phone? I donít see any point of meeting any agent unless there is a really good reason for it. Maybe I am overreacting. However I just react like every player does Ė with doubt. The first thought of a footballer about agents is that they are parasites, dodgy hustlers. Probably because of the stories and experiences that go around the football world. And I have just signed myself to believe this general opinion.
- I just think it would be better to meet in person so you can see how we work and what we can produce to you.
I calm down. I guess I could only loose a bit of my time. In the end if all agents were so bad, why does everyone have one then? I think the reputation of agents is too harsh. Surely there are agents that hustles players and teams by doing dodgy deals. On the other hand I have come across with many good and reliable agents who have done well for me. Actually most of the agents I know better have been honest and cared about my career and me as a person. So I really shouldnít judge. I tell him that if he wants to meet, I will bring my agent as well.
- That isnít really necessary. Not that we donít want sharing fees, after all we are not doing this for money. I just want to help you because you are a good player. I want to work for you some point of your career.
Yeahright, I can smell you counting cash all the time. And I want things to be done openly. What does ďworking for meĒ really mean after all? He is not going to kick a ball or run a yard for me at the pitch. For me agents job is to promote you in the way that creates you extra value. The value could be in terms of wealth or interest. Agents can help not just players but also clubs to lead right players to right clubs. In a way they are necessary bad. Some of the bad part is that some of the extra value goes away from actual football Ė to agents pocket.
- You can play also centre-half, canít you? he says revealing he really doesnít know or care.
No, I canít. I think you should at least know the players before trying to market them. It would be like trying to sell a scooter to someone who wants a lorry.
- I will get back to you.
That is the moment you know you wonít hear from them again. Until the next transfer window is open. I canít help thinking that after praising my name and the possibilities they can produce to me, who is he going to call next? Another central midfielder from his contact book will probably get all the same things only minutes after I have been sportinggijoned. For me this was just another meaningless call in the weird world of football.
I put my phone down, but soon it rings again. It is January.
In January I recommend:
1. Early swimming in monday mornings
- I don't like swimming, mondays or early mornings, but when you combine them, afterwards you know that there is nothing you can't get through the rest of the week -
I do not recommend:
1. Being agent 007
- why try to be James Bond, 7 is a liars number! -
" If you can laugh at it, you can live with it. "
- ErmAki Bombeck