Du Malone writes: This is the ninth of a series of posts on the theme of contracts, negotiation, and agents on FM.

In the leagues I’ve tended to manage in, in recent years — typically, the Balkans and eastern Europe, starting in the second tier — not all players have agents, but some do. And the money isn’t big.

So let’s take a sum like £500. You have offered a player a contract and the agent opens by pitching for a £500 loyalty bonus for the player, together with, say £100 fee payable to the agent.

How to respond?

As I’ve argued in previous posts, many FMers have a bias against, based in an irrational conception of intermediaries, so the one thing they won’t do is offer to increase the agent’s fee.

In contrast, my usual response to this situation is to remove the player’s loyalty bonus entirely, whilst increasing the agent’s fee by half that amount.

In other words: instead of £500 player and £100 agent (= £600 total), I go £0 player and £350 agent (= £350 total).

The logic is that agents will tend to value money paid to themselves more highly than money paid to their players. That, surely, is a no-brainer?

The exact mechanics no doubt vary between leagues. I dare say there are some leagues where you couldn’t remove the loyalty bonus entirely. But the principle is sound: squeeze the player’s earnings, enhance the bung to the agent but by a lower amount, and pocket the difference.

Previous post in the series: Working with the bias of agents

Next up: Contracts and stakeholder management: the case of agents

Image credit: This image has generously been made available, under a CC BY 2.0 licence, by CreditScoreGeek.

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