Port Vale’s Tom Pope – Paying hundreds of millions to agents is ridiculous



It’s ridiculous that so much money at the top of English football is paid to agents.

The latest figures from the FA show Premier League clubs paid £263m to agents and representatives between February 1 2019 and January 31, 2020, with another £49m shelled out by Championship teams.

How can that really be justified, apart from the obvious of clubs saying if they didn’t pay the agents fees they wouldn’t get the players?

From a player’s point of view, how can they justify their agents getting such huge sums?

If a big club wants a player then why is an agent needed to make it happen?

Has a player ever really sat in the dressing room at Old Trafford and thought ‘I’m really glad my agent persuaded me to sign for Manchester United – I had my heart set on West Ham.’

I am not saying there is no need for agents, but the figures that have come out this week are bonkers. I can’t help but think about how much those millions could do for the game as a whole.

It’s a bit different lower down the scale with League Two clubs only paying just over £1m in total, with Vale on £40,000.

My agent is the ex Vale and Crewe striker Lee Matthews who does a good job and is a good friend.

I never had an agent for the start of my career. I’d come through non league and, although I had a few phone calls from agents, I was never interested. Once I’d got to Crewe I thought, ‘well if I’ve signed for a professional club from non league, I don’t need an agent. If somebody wants me, they will speak to the club.

But I was at Crewe with Lee who had been forced into retirement early through injury and was setting up in business.

I think me and Robert Snodgrass, who was at Livingston at the time, were the first to sign for him. It’s fair to say he’s made more money from Robert Snodgrass over the years than me!

But I am very comfortable with Lee because he was my friend first, he’s been a player himself, and I know he is looking after me rather than thinking what he can get from me.

When I have had different offers over the years I’ve talked it through with him and his advice has always been the move that is best for me and my family rather than what would have made the most money.    

So, when I went to Bury, I turned down Doncaster for more money because of the extra travelling.

I’ve also had interest from Millwall in the Championship but my granddad was dying and I didn’t want to be that far away from my family. Lee’s advice was it wasn’t about the money, I needed to do what made me happy. 





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