I’d make a comparison between Scott Boras and Paul Stretford except the former is far more successful. I’d make a comparson between Mark Cuban and cell phone magnate Simon Jordan, except the former is far less annoying. The Guardian’s Matt Snow on the battle over Wayne Routledge.
Crystal Palace’s chairman Simon Jordan last night hit out at the role agents have played in Wayne Routledge’s refusal to commit to a contract extension at Selhurst Park.
In the week that the Football League will reveal the sums its clubs have spent on agents in the past 12 months, Jordan held the England Under-21’s representatives to account for his expected departure from Palace. Birmingham City and Tottenham will vie for his signature this month.
Routledge’s current agreement will expire in the close season after Palace’s reported £12,000-a-week five-year deal was not accepted. The south London club are expected to attempt to recoup a transfer fee now rather than gamble on tribunal-set compensation in the summer.
“How in God’s name does an agent, whose primary motivation is his own gain, succeed in achieving a divide between a player and a club that has had the boy for eight years and looked after him and his family?” Jordan asked.
“We’ve given Wayne his opportunity and given him every support and encouragement. How does someone like that build this level of influence over the player? I think the player has to take some responsibility in the whole equation because he is not a silly boy – most of these boys know their own minds.”
Jordan’s comments were last night questioned by the player’s agent, the Formation Group, formerly Proactive. A source from the company claimed that it had tried “for some time” to open negotiations on behalf of Routledge (above) only to be informed by Jordan that he did not deal with agents.
When asked if Routledge was likely to move now or in the summer, manager Iain Dowie responded: “I don’t know. He will do it when it suits us. I like him, though. I would still rather keep him now. My point is I have had no problem – he has played all the time.”
Whether that last remark indicates difficulties in his relationship with the chairman is unclear, but Dowie too has become a target for another club’s overtures.
Sebastien Sainsbury, whose consortium is in advanced negotiations for the takeover of Leeds, is believed to have earmarked £5m to attract Dowie to Elland Road. “There’s only one man for the job, as I see it,” said Sainsbury. “And that man is Iain Dowie.