Robins join renegades taking stand against agents
Town fan Nick Judd hails the League 1 clubs refusing to fill Mr 10 Percent's pockets...
Swindon Town are among a growing number of League 1 clubs taking a stand against the football agent, if recent transactions revealed by the Football League are anything to go by.
The Robins Ã¢ÂÂ or the Ã¢ÂÂbest in the westÃ¢ÂÂ if you believe our matchday announcer, slightly misleading given current league positions Ã¢ÂÂ were one of 10 League 1 clubs not to pay agents fees between July 1 and December 31 in 2008.
In our division there were 542 player transactions, just 35 of which involved paying a 'Mr 10 percent'. Proof that money doesnÃ¢ÂÂt always buy you happinessÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Leeds: Big spenders off the pitch, inconsistent on it
Leeds spent more than ÃÂ£300,000, yet their play-off aspirations continue to splutter like an old banger. Leicester Ã¢ÂÂ easily the divisionÃ¢ÂÂs best side Ã¢ÂÂ in contrast, spent a tenth of last seasonÃ¢ÂÂs outlay.
Others more frugal with the purse strings have the edge on clubs such as Bristol Rovers and Southend United, who both spent more than ÃÂ£30,000, while Brighton & Hove Albion are staring down the barrel of relegation after spending the same amount.
But it's thumbs up to Cheltenham, Crewe, Hartlepool, Hereford, Millwall, Northampton, Peterborough, Scunthorpe, Swindon and Tranmere, I say.
Take a stand. Big, high-profile clubs might be able to spend hundreds of thousands on agentsÃ¢ÂÂ fees, but small ones like ours canÃ¢ÂÂt afford such profligacy. Not in the current climate when things are tight.
SwindonÃ¢ÂÂs balance sheet wasnÃ¢ÂÂt helped by the bad weather and the subsequent spate of postponements, while rumour has it at least one League 1 side is set to go into administration before the end of March. The need to scrimp and save has never been so acute.
Lost gate revenue hit Robins bank balance hard
Who needs agents at this level anyway?
The vast majority of the players Swindon Ã¢ÂÂbuyÃ¢ÂÂ are either out of contract, on loan or from lower league clubs. It doesnÃ¢ÂÂt take a third party to negotiate deals when players are ready to snap your hand off.
The other side of the coin, some would argue, is that by refusing to pay agentsÃ¢ÂÂ fees weÃ¢ÂÂre distancing ourselves from the top end of the market and the percentage of players who still use third parties to negotiate moves.
Town have been down this road before Ã¢ÂÂ take a look at last yearÃ¢ÂÂs figures and youÃ¢ÂÂll see the previous incumbents spent more than ÃÂ£60,000 on agent fees Ã¢ÂÂ and our current status on and off the pitch is testament that spending large amounts doesnÃ¢ÂÂt always work.
Scunny: Promotion-hopefuls without spending a penny (on agents)
Yet from the long list of players we were linked with in January, most of them opted for clubs I consider no bigger than our own. Coincidence? Or simply a refusal on the agentsÃ¢ÂÂ behalf to continue negotiating with a club he/she knows wonÃ¢ÂÂt pay his/her 10 percent?
In the end, we signed two lads on loan. Gordon GreerÃ¢ÂÂs capture proves that the loan market can be lucrative, while I doubt Millwall are worrying about how little theyÃ¢ÂÂve spent compared to their promotion rivals, especially if James Henry Ã¢ÂÂ a loan capture from R*ading Ã¢ÂÂ continues to score contenders for goal of the season like this.
Granted, Swindon will need to show more ambition if weÃ¢ÂÂre to fulfil Andrew FittonÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂthree-yearÃ¢ÂÂ plan and earn promotion to the Championship. But for now itÃ¢ÂÂs all about survival, on and off the pitch.