The Luton manager Mike Newell yesterday demanded a Football Association clampdown on the agents he believes are ruining the game. Newell criticised the amount of money players' representatives are making from transfers and contract negotiations.
"Agents are the scourge of the game," Newell said. "I've seen the money they make at Championship level, and I can only imagine what they make at the top level.
"So many players have come and gone who have been absolutely no good to the game or the clubs who bought them. But the agents will have made money once again and the game in this country will have suffered. Millions of pounds have gone out of the game that will not be seen again."
A Football League report discovered that Championship clubs spent nearly £7m on agents' fees during the 2004-05 season but Newell remains frustrated. "Nothing is ever done," the 40-year-old said. "Why is it taking people so long to realise what is happening?
"When you renegotiate a player's contract who is already with you, you are still expected to pay the agent.
"We signed a player for free, and 18 months later we offered him a good contract. But his agent came from nowhere and asked for ridiculous money. His justification was that we had never really paid for the player, and therefore we should pay the agent. The player still hasn't re-signed."
Newell added: "I'm not suggesting every agent is bad, and I have no problem with players having agents. But if the governing bodies don't eradicate some of the things that are happening, it will kill the game. Hopefully, the Football League and the Premier League will bring in stricter laws. And the FA must play a much bigger role than they are doing."