Okay class, sit up, pay attention and stop making silly noises on the desks with your rulers.
Question one: What do Craig Revel Horwood, Keith Lemon and Cameron Jerome have in common?
Question two: What links Russell Martin to John Bishop and Dawn French?
Question three: What commodity do Ed Sheeran, JK Rowling and Nelson Oliviera all have on hand when required?
Okay, end of exam and the answers will follow shortly. No leftfield stuff will be accepted, as defined below.
I reject any suggestion that CamJam has a secret passion for choreography or donning sparkly suits while “interacting” in front of the cameras with Holly Willoughby.
No jokes about comedy football are allowed. After all, I’ve seen John Bishop on televised charity matches and he’s not bad.
And to my knowledge, Nelson has never written a series of worldwide blockbusters and although he might play guitar, sing and top the charts every other week I doubt it.
Got all three? Of course you have. And the answer’s the same in all cases.
They’ve all got a bloody agent!
Sales and recruitment are difficult enough, but add the agent factor and it becomes a very muddied pool.
The agent will often send a player’s head spinning with his “advice” and no bones to be made here; it’s all about the money. We’re all adult enough to understand that is how the modern world works, be you musician, actor or footballer.
But sometimes the sun can shine through even this scenario, and it has done for City on a couple of occasions that are in the public domain and maybe one or two that are not.
Who can forget the man who is Darren Huckerby telling his agent (I’m not prepared to dignify him by researching his name) to basically go and swivel because Hucks was coming to play for us. Whether Agent Orange liked it or not.
Hard to imagine that scenario being replicated today, but it happened. And the legend that is DH6 probably got more enjoyment from his stellar career in NR1 than a few extra grand a week would ever have done for him. And where is he now? A youth coach with us and living in Norfolk.
Gaetano Giallanza played a huge part in Timm Klose signing for us. Seriously injured while a player on our books, he still retained enough love for NCFC to influence Timm in signing for and remaining with us. Maybe it hasn’t quite worked out as planned for Timm but the point remains.
Jacob and Josh are represented by an agency closely linked to Rio Ferdinand. Rio can be a bit of a marmite figure but he was born in the same area of London as me and I know one thing about that place: back in the day everybody wanted the best for the youngsters.
Rio and the operatives will do their utmost on behalf of the twins. Not for City but for the twins. Yet I doubt that agency will be motivated by greed. It’s not what Rio’s all about and when one or both leaves I believe it will be in everybody’s interests – including our own.
Then we come to the other side of the coin. Eric “Monster” Hall telling everyone everything he thought they wanted to hear. I’m not getting into that in detail but that whole approach really alienated me at the time and things largely haven’t improved since.
Right now, we have the Jorge Mendes “situation” going on. I’m not dumb enough to comment on Radamel Falcao and exactly why Mendes is being asked to give evidence to a Spanish court. But Mendes’ clients include Jose Mourinho and Christiano Ronaldo, which certainly gives some perspective on the money involved, let alone the issues themselves.
Football would be a better place without agents in my opinion, but I do not blame a single player for employing them.
It’s a far cry from when I had a trial at Leyton Orient in about 1972 and we were all told: “if we want you back we’ll speak to your parents first”.
They didn’t want me back, so it didn’t become an issue.
One “agent” I met and developed respect for was Barry Hearn. He was nothing officially to do with Orient when he walked into our newspaper offices in Harlow around 1980 when I was Sports Editor. Unannounced.
He slapped a black and white photograph on the desk and said (I’ll claim verbatim here): “This is Steve Davis. He’s the biggest rising star in snooker and if you don’t put him on the back page now you’ll look a right bleedin’ idiot“.
Snooker was massive in Harlow, and Romford (where Steve came from) wasn’t a million miles away, so I did what Barry Hearn suggested, although maybe his client was not featured as prominently as he would have liked.
Anyway I was invited to the ‘Matchroom’ to watch Steve in action and later have a chat with him, so Barry must have been pleased. And no, Steve wasn’t boring. Anything but.
As superficially abrasive as he might have seemed, Barry is the only high profile agent-impresario I have ever knowingly met and I found it impossible to dislike him.
Anyway, here’s to Stuart Webber and co guiding us through the minefield that is representational agency this window. They’re not all bad. I’m sure Stuart knows his wheat from his chaff.
And to those of our readers who worked the questions out before the answers arrived, feel free to go to the top of the class and give out the pencils.