Everyone still has him or her inside of us. That innocent, sweet hearted inner child, who, with expectant eyes widened, looks up at a television, down into a book or even at their hero and dreams that one day, it might be them taking the same stage. To would-be football players everywhere, the beautiful game is the only way to live these dreams out. Football, never mind Old Trafford, is a Theatre of Dreams itself, and every footballer, no matter a towering centre back, no. 10 or utility man, are the ones taking its stage.
Intermediaries are in a unique position in that they can help make these dreams a reality. They act as confidant, counsellor and compadre, and making sure that everything is in place to increase the chances of a player’s innermost desires coming to fruition is at the heart of an intermediary’s job. Despite the tantalising earnings both an intermediary and his client can gain from a successful career together, financial success is only one of the countless benefits of the game to a footballer and his representation. To players specifically, it’s the difference between them living the dream and not.
The single most important aspect of a player’s career is both the simplest and the most complicated of them all – playing football. A would-be footballer must focus his energy in increasing his performance levels, working as hard as possible on his/her game and evolving and growing as both a player and a person. You can’t underestimate the personal aspect of a young player’s journey – there have been many talented players who’ve fell by the wayside through poor judgment in their personal lives. As an agent, your role revolves around ensuring these parameters can flourish, around ensuring that their vision for the future has the best chance of coming true.
Your job is to advise them and try to get them the best deal possible in an environment which suits them. Some players may have precise personal dreams – to play in a certain country, to play with certain personnel, or to play for their boyhood clubs – and, if the player demands it, an agent must put these at the top of the priority list. Your job is to merely counsel them the best you can. From trouble with their better halves to struggling to deal with fame, to that big money move, as an agent you are the first port-of-call and a welcome sign of stability to a player. These personal responsibilities should never be shirked - that personal and professional support away from the pitch is a huge part of a player’s development on it.
Footballers are, by-and-large, not business men. They’re footballers. To be the best, they need to shoot for the stars. By taking care of all the stuff in the background, you’re helping to build a ladder to them. But it’s the players who must climb the rungs. You’re a silent partner in their story.
From the outside looking in, generating hype, income and opportunity may seem like the primary focus of a Football Intermediary. Scratch the surface however, and you’ll see that intermediaries exist to fulfil all manner of roles, with building an environment for and route to success the crux of it all.
Consider the journey of that young kid from leaning on his palms, eyes wide in wonder looking at the Ronaldos, Messis and Neymars of this world, all the way to playing in front of 50,000 in a sold-out stadium - you can bet that a good agent has played his part in making it a reality. And you can bet double he’s taken something more than money from it too. Helping to turn dreams into reality isn’t just a part of what we do – it’s one of the main reasons for doing it.