August 14 2018

Octagon Delivers Insight into the International World of Football

Blog, Soccer/Football

Over 35 year of representing the world’s very best sports personalities? Check. 20 years of unrivalled FIFA World Cup™ experience? Check. An elite staff led by renowned industry experts? Check. At Octagon, we couple smarts with creativity to add opportunity and meaning to everything our clients do. We work hard and tirelessly to help clients reach, and ultimately surpass, their goals. Look forward to more thoughts coming from the minds of Octagon's global football experts.

 

Sharks, the dark, ghosts, carbon monoxide. The unseen is often the scariest. Agents are widely judged to be of this ilk, largely due to the years of bad press as the prevalence and prominence of football transfers has proliferated, to what is now known as the ‘Silly Season’ of football.

It is not just “sharks” that are often the metaphorical description for agents, or intermediaries, as they are sometimes known as, - snakes, mercenaries and other favourite descriptions, the list goes on and on…The truth is, as in any other line of work, there are some good operators and some bad operators. Perception plays a part too; fans of the clubs do not consider the perspective of the agent doing what is best for the player, rather they see the work as a scheme to line their own pockets! Unlike most professional industries, there are virtually no barriers to entry, particularly as FIFA’s global licensing system ended in 2015. And, as so much credibility is given to relationships and being best mates with your players, it has inevitably made it hard for players and their families to know who is a good agent, who’s a bad agent, and more importantly; what makes a great agent?

For example, if a surgeon is going to do an open-heart surgery on you; you would want to research extensively your surgeon’s skills and experiences. Someone who has successfully performed operations many times before would surely be No.1 on your list. Yet in this crazy world of agents, players and their parents typically put their trust in agents who are learning as they go along! Think about it; would you really want somebody practicing on your life; for sure you would not choose to be a surgeons first ever open heart patient! 

For agents, is a phone call after training every day and after every match the making of a great agent? In truth, it is no different to the makings of a great player; it is the training, the experiences and what the player does on the pitch week in week out that has the most impact on their success and ability. However, it is no doubt a great agent can make a small difference and as the difference between good and great and success and failure in football or any professional sport for that matter, is so marginal; a small difference can make a great difference to a players career.

Something these monthly blogs will aim to identify and discuss are the several decisions and situations for building a successful career, sharing some of the insights we have picked up along the way and offering our view on the international world of football. At Octagon, we have been privileged to work with many of the very best across all sports and through this experience we have seen how good representation can be the difference between a good and great player. We know that wherever the career of our football player or indeed athlete client progresses, Octagon will not be practicing as we go along, we now know from experience what is right.

Octagon believes in “Quality not Quantity”. The reality and the unprecedented truth is our agent to client ratio is 1:1. Interestingly, recent studies have found that head teachers at schools only know and remember the names of 150 schoolchildren’s names. When you consider that many leading agencies have over 150 players, does/will the head of that agency remember your name? In our opinion, always starting out on the basis that our new client will become the very best player in the world, ever, and adjusting accordingly is the approach that works best in finding the right way to manage clients. Easier said than done but when we as a company have lived through the journey with many of the very best from day one, this approach works. Indeed, it is the right of every player to make his or her own decisions (with a guardian if under 16). Each player is an individual, should be treated like one and should choose the representation and management that fits and suits them and their ambitions. However, with a career at the top level lasting just eight to ten years on average, the emphasis on making the right decision is all the more important. 

Jumping out and having an agent who is learning on the job is a scary thought, and no doubt will have a negative impact on the athlete. Those agents that have been there and done it and have the ambition and foresight to continually improve and set the agenda, are the ones that are the best to have in your corner.  Which is why Octagon have represented……

        •     the World Cup winning captain;

        •     the highest paid England U21 player in the Premier League;

        •     the BBC Sports Personality and Young Sports Personality of the Year;

        •     the highest paid English player in the Barclays Premier League;

        •     the Ballon d’Or & FIFA World Player of the Year;

        •     the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year;

        •     the Premier League Player of the Season, and;

        •     the PFA Player’s Player of the Year.

So continue with us, as we bring our regular look into the largely unknown and often murky waters that is football and specially, representation in the world of football.

 

Written by: Rory Rebbeck, Elijah Sofoluke


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