David Marshall's colourful agent Wille MacKay suddenly found himself with rather more pressing concerns than smoothing the wantaway Celtic keeper's ?500,000 switch to the Canaries when he today emerged as one of the central characters in Lord Stevens' long-awaited 'Quest' report into football's alleged 'bung culture'.
The former Metropolitan Police chief and his team of so-called 'forensic accountants' have refused to sign off 17 transfers involving five Premiership clubs – Chelsea, Bolton Wanderers, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United and Portsmouth.
Robert Earnshaw's switch from Cardiff City to West Bromwich Albion which, at one stage even saw the player himself demand an inquiry into has, however, been cleared.
Of more immediate interest in Norfolk is the fact that four of the transfers left with large question marks attached invlove the Monaco-based former Glaswegian bookie who remains the central figure in Norwich's hopes of brokering a deal bewteen themselves and Celtic to secure the permanent transfer of their 22-year-old target.
Stevens' team cast doubts on the moves of French defender Jean Alain Boumsong and midfielder Amady Faye to Newcastle United FC as well as McKay's complicated role at Fratton Park where he was reported to have acted for Auxerre in the transfer of Benjani Mwaruwari to Portsmouth and then for Portsmouth themselves in the transfer of Aliou Cisse.
Referring to the two Newcastle transfers, today's Quest report concluded: “We have found no evidence to suggest any irregular payments by or to Club officials relating to the above transfers and Newcastle United officials co-operated fully with the Inquiry and gave full access to documentation (including bank statements) as requested.
“However, there remain inconsistencies in evidence provided by Graeme Souness (a former manager of the club) and Kenneth Shepherd (apparently acting in an undefined role but not as a club official) as to their respective roles in transfer negotiations.”
As for Mackay's role in the Boumsong and Faye deals, “these transfers involved payments to Willie McKay and, despite a degree of co-operation from Mr McKay, the Inquiry is still awaiting clarification in relation to various documents provided by him.”
For the same reasons, said the report, they were “not prepared to clear” the two Pompey deals involving MacKay either.
Curiously, the Quest team also chose to highlight a race-horse registered by MacKay “in the name of Harry Redknapp”.
The report continued: “Harry Redknapp has confirmed that this could well have happened though it was a very unsuccessful horse that resulted in no material gain or reward for him. There is no evidence that this transaction is related to any specific transfer, more a consequence of a long term personal association. Inquiries into this matter should continue.”
The reaction from the Government to today's long-awaited findings suggests that MacKay might have both the FA and FIFA on his tail as Sports Minister Richard Caborn urged the football authorities to pursue “these agents vigorously”.
“I welcome the transparent approach taken by the Premier League in publishing these findings today,” said Caborn.
“While it's pleasing to hear that all clubs and officials have co operated fully with the Steven's inquiry, I am deeply concerned that some agents haven't.
“They should do so immediately. It's now for the FA and FIFA to pursue these agents vigorously and they will have my support every step of the way.”
Aside from Souness, the only other manager to find himself under the spotlight is former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce with the Quest team suggesting there was a clear conflict of interest between 'Big Sam', his son and then agent Craig Allardyce and Bolton Wanderers football club themselves.
Wanderers, the report noted, have fully co-operated with the authorities; as have Newcastle United – even if a question mark hangs over the role of Kenneth Shepherd, the son of Magpies chairman Freddie, in his “undefined role but not as a club official”.
Coincidence or not, the biggest transfer wrangle of the summer thus far has seen at least two of the above embroil themselves in a public row with Manchester City over the transfer of Joey Barton to Newcastle United.
Allardyce is, of course, now Newcastle manager having resigned as Bolton chief, while who should be Joey's Mr Ten Per Cent but MacKay?
The row, for the record, was over a ?300,000 'loyalty' payment Newcastle expected City to pay – in the end, they merely topped up the transfer fee to ?5.8 million instead of the original ?5.5 million.
The Quest team have also cast doubt on three big moves into Chelsea – Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Michael Essien – and have also questioned the role of so-called Israeli 'super-agent' Pini Zahivi.
“There was an initial failure to disclose his involvement in a number of transfers but, more seriously, he has failed to provide the Inquiry with complete bank statements due to the confidential nature of them. There has also been a lack of responsiveness by Zahavi,” said the report.
Aiyegbeni Yakubu's switch to Middlesbrough also comes under the spotlight. He, of course, moved there from Portsmouth. Before that he was with Maccabi Haifa. In Israel.
An FA spokesman said: “Following the final report of the Premier League's Quest Inquiry, the FA will give full consideration to its contents and the documentation that is due to be passed on by the Premier League and Quest.
“The FA has provided full co-operation and support to the Premier League and Quest and will now go through their information as part of our governance and regulation process. This will determine what action is required.”
It is, however, on Tyneside where the heat will probably come given that both Sam Allardyce and Kenneth Shepherd both now reside at St James'.
Beautifully, the Premier League fixture computer merely added to their likely unease this summer by handing Newcastle and Big Sam a trip to Bolton Wanderers on the first day of the season.