Everybody realises very few football clubs go through the so-called correct procedure of asking a club about a player’s availability and then agreeing a deal before getting into contract talks – but, as The Secret Footballer explains, it’s all even murkier than you might expect.
Many players remember the biggest transfer of their careers. But only because of the sums involved and the club they moved to. Mine was different. In football circles at least it has gone down as part of Premier League folklore.
The sum involved was in the many millions of pounds, a record transfer for both the buying and the selling club, but that was not the reason that my transfer is still talked about today.
No. The reason I’m part of football transfer royalty is because with the seconds ticking down on transfer deadline day and with another Premier League club desperately trying to hijack the deal, my new club decided to take me on a tour of their boardroom.
It was only after I’d walked around the grand mahogany table for the twentieth time on my own, staring for the twentieth time at the same meaningless trophies and pendants from pre-season friendlies from the 60s, did I think to try the doors that I’d entered through an hour earlier.
Locked. My new employer had locked me in the club’s boardroom. With no time left to travel to other interested parties and discuss terms and undergo medicals I had no option but to sign.
Tapping up is how transfers work
Transfers, as you can guess, are not straightforward.
Here’s something that some of you will find obvious and some of you will find surprising: Ninety-five percent of all transfers in professional football happen through tapping up.
But what is tapping up?
Well, strictly speaking a buying club is supposed to contact the selling club regarding the availability of the player that it would like to sign. But here’s a fact: That’s not how football works.
The reality is that either the club contacts the agent asking after a specific player or the agent contacts the club peddling his players.
Even if two clubs are keen to do a deal for a player for the right fee, that deal does not happen unless the agent is taken care of. You don’t need 20 players as an agent to become a multi-millionaire. You need one; the right one. Continue reading