Football agents are an essential part of the United Kingdom’s football industry, especially since the last decade. The demands and the power of football agents are increasing as we speak, and that is why many people are considering becoming football agents in the UK.
If you are one of them, then this article is exactly what you need as it will provide in-depth knowledge on football agents in general, what they do, what qualities they have and how you can start your career.
Table of Contents
What does a Football Agent Do?
Before knowing how to become a football agent in the UK, it is essential to understand what agents do? What are their responsibilities?
An agent does a lot more than what people see and appreciate. For casual people, agents are people who just negotiate a player’s contract and collect their commission.
Negotiating a contract, contract renewals, and managing transfers are a huge part of their job. But they also handle the media and marketing aspects, which includes sponsorship and endorsements.
Also, completing all the necessary paperwork that comes up every time, make sure to keep a healthy relationship between club and players, supporting players with any issues, including personal matters, and probably the most difficult of all, dealing with journalists and the press.
Dealing with the media, especially during the transfer window, is tricky because you have to promote yourself and your client. The task gets more challenging when your client gets offers from multiple football clubs, and you will play a massive role in helping them make the right choice.
This also means you have to know your player physically, mentally, technically, and tactically to make the best decisions in choosing the club and negotiating a deal.
A few other responsibilities include attending football matches and scouting talent with whom you can work with and take them to the next level and make your living. This is where your vision meets with your football knowledge.
Types of agents
There are two types of agents; one is self-employed agents, and the other being agents who work in an agency.
Self-employed agents are those who find talented youth and take them under their wing by becoming their agents. Self-employed agents make all decisions by themselves and don’t have to report to anyone. Their income depends on how much their clients make.
Agents who work at an agency have to report their decisions and have one extra responsibility, keeping track of other field experts helping your client, like social media expert and data analyst expert who keeps track of your client’s performance stats. They have two sources of income: the salary from the agency, and the other depends on how much their clients make.
How to Start Your Career?
Here is what you need to focus on to know how to become a football agent in the UK:
- Need to know laws of dealing with contracts
- Understand the Football Business
- Understand the Football Market
- Gain Agency Experience
- Register with FA
One thing that steals a lot of hype is the qualification you need to be an agent. There isn’t any degree or background you need to pursue your dream of becoming an agent. All you have to do is fill an online application and pay £500. And you will be among the licensed football agents in the UK. You will also have to pay an annual registration fee of £250.
However, countless other skills are much more essential than just having a degree, like knowing the game, having the vision of recognising future talents
In most cases, agents stay involved in other aspects of football before becoming an agent, and then eventually make their move. This gives them the much-needed “Network” one needs.
But, indeed, having a background in business, marketing, media, and law help and increases your chances of becoming a successful agent. So yeah, considering education will be a plus, especially if you are not doing any other job in the football industry.
Networking is easily the first and foremost thing you need to survive in this industry. Knowing how to become a football agent in the UK is easy, and having Networking is hard. However, the more people you know, the more you connect, the more you will get your clients.
If you are starting, you won’t have many networks. To build a network, you have to attend matches, meet club officials, link up with press members, and meet up with players.
The best way to find clients is by finding them out by yourself. Look for players with great talent and future ahead, meet up with their families, friends and try to sign them as quickly as possible. But, of course, you need a good vision and understanding of football to recognise such talent in the very first place.
Moreover, as you will be dealing with legal contracts, you need to know everything regarding arrangements, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a trained solicitor. You just need to know what to do when a contract is presented to you, as simple as that.
Understand The Football Business
Before you make your way out of any field with success, you need to understand that specific field. The same applies here; you need to understand the football business among the successful football agents in the UK.
So people who know business management and international sport management tend to do better. But you will do just fine if you have enough experience to understand the football business.
So what does “Understand the Football Business” mean? Well, to put it simply, you need to know all the on-pitch and off-pitch factors that play a part in a club.
For example, how clubs balance out their investment with their return. Their investment in stadium, players, coaches, staff, customer service, medical team and in return earn through broadcast rights, ticket prices, merchandise, sponsorship, and joining more significant leagues.
Understand The Football Market
Just like the football business, you need to understand the football market. It is essential as it has an impact on both players and clubs directly.
Besides, the only way to understand the football market is by studying the football market.
You need to know about how a player’s worth is calculated, what are the average wage and transfer fees, why and if a player with zero transfer fee has a higher wage than a player with a sizeable transfer fee, how many bonuses do players receive, how much difference is the wages for players playing in different positions.
In terms of your client, you need to know how much wages you can demand, what kind of role your client will play in the team, understand if the club is ideal for your client and vice versa and how much of an impact your client will make for the club and vice versa.
Agency Experience Matters
Two things are pretty undeniable. The first being that you learn a lot from people with experience, and the second being, experience matters everywhere.
Working as a self-employed agent is excellent once you have the experience as well as enough clients. For people just starting, experts suggest working in an agency first as an intern.
Several reasons for that. It helps you understand football in different ways. You will understand more about its business size, market size, and the actual game, increasing your vision and learning from people with years of experience.
Furthermore, you can build your CV and apply for a full-time position working as an agent for the agency. Also, the better football agent companies in the UK you work at, the heavier your CV will be.
And most importantly, you can build up your network, which will come in very handy once you become self-employed.
Register with FA
Here in the UK, you must register with the Football Association as an intermediary. Once you register, you will undergo a criminal record check and a good character and reputation test before you get accepted. A £500 fee must be paid for registration.
Qualities you need to possess
You need to have certain qualities to become one of the top football agents in the UK. And what are those qualities? Well, read along to find out.
Passion For Football
Working as a football agent isn’t as easy as one would like, especially when starting out. It is because the current stars, future stars already have an agent and are very unlikely to need one as they have had that agent for years, and that trust in one another has grown.
So definitely, there are some qualities that you need to possess to succeed. The first one is simple; you have to have a passion for football. Without the love for this beautiful game, you can’t go much further and be on the list of the best football agents in the UK.
There will be situations where you will need to make quick decisions, and some of those decisions won’t come in your favour. This is when your level of resilience will come into play.
This comes with experience, and it is essential to have that quality because, at times, you will need to make bold decisions that may or may not go in your favour.
Patience & Confidence
Next, you need to be patient and have confidence in yourself to be one of the top football agents in the UK because it takes time. This is so important, especially when you start because it takes time for most people to get or scout a player. But the hassle is less if you work in an agency, as the agency will pay you.
Deal with Legal Contracts
You need to understand how to deal with legal contracts once a contract is up in front of you. No wonder why most of the agents have a background in Law!
Trustworthiness is another crucial quality one needs to possess to be a successful agent. As an agent, you will know much personal information about a player, which the people and media don’t. So you got to keep them private.
Another thing that trust does is build a relationship between an agent and a player, which results in less likelihood of players leaving the agent. Keep this in mind because a player has the right to replace his agent at any time.
Good Communication & Interpersonal Skills
Lastly, you need to have good communication and interpersonal skills. This will help you get your client in the very first place. This will help you with negotiations, contract renewals, sponsorships, endorsements, literally in all aspects. It is essential if you want to be among the best football agents in the UK.
Football Agents in the UK: Salary
The salary of a football agent depends on whether they are self-employed or works at an agency. This applies to agents not only in the UK but also in other countries.
If you work at an agency, you will be paid a fixed salary and probably commissions. This and the percentage of the commission depends on the agency you are working in. If you are self-employed, you will get anywhere between 1-10% commission; sometimes, you can get more than 10% but mostly up to 10% commission to be precise.
According to Sports Management Worldwide, football agents in the UK can earn between £1,200 to £550,000 per Premier League client annually.
Your earning also depends on how many clients you have and how big of a star your clients are in the football world. The good news is that experts predict that agents will have a substantial increase in their pay shortly. The reason for this is that the transfer market for getting players is reaching new levels every year.
The best earners in this field are the Super Agents. The term “Super Agent” is used for agents who are very effective at their job, so much so that they have massive influence and end up earning millions. They are usually the ones who attract the biggest stars. The best examples of Super Agents are; Jorge Mendes, Mino Raiola, and Jonathan Barnett.
Advice to the Ones Starting Out
Experience is such a word that can only be gained with time and not overnight. All the top agents have years and years of experience, and it also took time for them to be the top agent they are today. So a suggestion would be to join an agency as this is your best shot at gaining all the experience you need to become a football agent in the UK.
Remember, one client is not enough to be successful. You need to have at least a few to make good money. So be patient, confident, resilient, and remain trustworthy. These skills are essential for everything, for every kind of job. The more of them you have, the more clients you will have, hence earn more money.
Instead of looking for players who are already stars or are known to become a star in the future, look for those who have the qualities of becoming a star but have few missing pieces.
Or players who are not getting enough opportunities. This will help you as there are fewer competitions out there for those kinds of players, and it will also help them as they deserve a chance to prove everyone their worth. All in all, it is a win-win situation.
No one started as a successful agent with Jorge Mendes, Mino Raiola, Jonathan Barnett, Pere Guardiola, and Pini Zahavi. However, they all combined time and their qualities to be the top agents they are today.
Now even though you know how to become a football agent in the UK or any other country, you will still need a guide that will assist and guide you, especially if you want to be among the leading football agents in the UK as the competition here is very high because of the Premier League.
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