THERE were some colourful quotes from Steve Gibson today as he laced into Steve McClaren’s agent Colin Gordon with the Park End passion of a tenderly nursed grudge .
The confirmed Macophobes will feel vindicated over the revelation that furious Gibbo did an abrupt U-turn on the airport tarmac and called the former boss in to read the riot act over his agent playing footsie with Leeds just weeks after the manager had splashed out a reckless club record ÃÂ£8.1m on Massimo Maccarone.
And in the stinging rebuke that will play well with a public increasingly hostile to agents, Gibbo – annoyed that the agent had applied for the West Brom job on Steve Round’s behalf – insisted that Gordon was banned at Boro four years ago.
So how come he not only represents Round but also four of Boro’s brightest young stars?
First the quotes, which leave the reader in no doubt about Gibbo’s righteous anger at both his manager and the agent, in the tabloids this week after controversially declaring his industry to be riddled with corruption. It is worth noting that the chairman refers to his former boss by his surname throughout, a break with the terminolgy of the past.
“I was about to board a flight to Europe when I picked up the Sunday newspapers and saw headlines saying Ã¢ÂÂMcClaren to LeedsÃ¢ÂÂ,” said Gibson. “I spoke to Peter Ridsdale, then the Leeds chairman, and he said to me that Colin Gordon was perpetually on the telephone trying to move McClaren to Leeds. McClaren had a five-year contract with us and was one year into that deal after weÃ¢ÂÂd backed him to the hilt in the transfer market.
“I got McClaren in and read him the Riot Act and said to him that his agentÃ¢ÂÂs conduct was a disgrace and that I no longer wanted Colin Gordon involved in any aspect of the football club,Ã¢Â? Gibson said. Ã¢ÂÂAs far as I was concerned, Colin Gordon was totally and absolutely barred from our football club, he wasnÃ¢ÂÂt allowed on the premises and I would deal with McClaren through McClaren himself.”
Absolutely and totally barred. And yet, while Gibson refused to deal with him directly, Gordon still managed to negotiate McClaren’s problematic new deal last year, although his hands-off involvement and the rupture between himself and Gibbo may well have contributed to the will-he, won’t-he circus that surrounded the twice signed agreement.
And he still appears to have been at the centre of Round’s application for the Baggies job, a move now shrouded in mystery. Gibson says it was ‘without our consent’ while West Brom insist they got permission from Gareth Southgate before contacting the coach.
Tellingly Gordon also has four Riverside starlets on his books. According to his Key Sports website client list he represents Matthew bates, James Morrison, Andrew Taylor and Ross Turnbull. As he has been effectively banned from club premises he past four years it begs the question as to how he managed to sign up these promising youngsters? You would hope not by personal recommendation from someone who knew him to be persona non grata.
Of course, armed with a laptop and a mobile phone an agent never need set foot in the Riverside or Hurworth anyway and can still draft demands, polish proposed contracts and give his advice remotely without too much trouble.
But it must create friction if an employee chooses to use an agent that he knows his company are hostile to. So why did McClaren persist with Gordon? Why not untangle himself legally from an agent who was possibly detrimental to his working relationship with the chairman? He was hot property so there would be no shortage of others who would take him on.
More pointedly, how is it possible that a manager and player can have the same agent? How can there be any objective mediation between them when it comes to thrashing out a deal if the man trying to get the best deal for the player is the same man who engineered the bosses own lucrative package? That is a recipe for disaster and it would surely benefit the manager, the player, the agent and the club to avoid a situation where such a conflict of interests could arise.