News   |    January 31st, 2022

GOOD AND BAD AGENTS

I am regularly asked what precisely an agent does, and I can tell that the perception behind that question is often that agents do very little for the clients they represent and the fees they earn.

As with any profession there are good and bad operators and having spent much of my career in football negotiating with agents, I never envisaged I would end up on their side of the table. 

One of the main reasons I changed seats so to speak was because I believe that Integral Sports Management is different in both its approach and execution to other sports agencies. 

First and foremost, any client wants to know that the agent he or she chooses as their representative has the skill set to secure the best contract available. The reality is, however, that is only part of how we see our role at Integral. We have worked hard to establish and nurture relationships with clubs in the top five divisions to understand their playing requirements and the wage structures within which they operate. Then we want to ensure that the clubs that are interested in our clientsare the right fit. That is not only geographically speaking but also in relation to the role the player is being asked to play in the team. So many agents promise the earth to young footballers in particular but then don’t deliver.

We encourage every player to use the spare time they have to acquire a second skill set. Most young players never think injury will cut their career short nor do they want to think about what they do when they retire from the game. That is why we encourage our players to acquire a new skill set. One client who did that was Luton Town’s Casey Pettit. This week he had confirmation that at the tender age of 19 he has achieved a UEFA B coaching qualification and he is one of the youngest professional players in the country to do this. Not only does this give him the foundation for a future coaching career but the platform to go on and achieve UEFA A and Pro Licence qualifications. What this also gives Casey is a greater understanding of the coaching he is benefiting from at Luton and when you have quality coaches as they do at Kenilworth Road you can only continue to enhance your learning as a future coach.

Making sure our clients are not taken advantage of because of their status is a key part of our service. We offer a lifestyle check for our clients and their families to ensure that whether they need a mortgage or need to lease a car or get medical cover and insurance our relationship with WillU means that clients achieve the best rates in the marketplace.

And finally, and importantly is our role in helping to advise clients on their social media. One of the things about being young is that you can be impulsive and not think before you write things,and one immature tweet can ruin a career. There have been so many examples in recent times of individuals across all sports being sanctioned for controversial or inappropriate tweets.

Picking an agent is one of the most important decisions a sportsperson can make but always make sure that any promises made are realistic and that services are provided in a professional and supportive way.

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management.

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