When he was coming to the end of his career at Bristol City, Steve McClaren forged a friendship with the veteran striker Colin Gordon that would see both men rise to the top of their chosen professions after football. The England manager may have been shocked at his agent's words but he will not have been surprised Gordon said them.
In the same way that he terrorised lower league defences in the 1980s with a blonde mullet and a traditional centre-forward's physical approach, Gordon the agent prefers to tell it like it is. Agents, clients and especially journalists who provoke his ire can expect a lambasting in his unmistakable Black Country accent but when the dust has settled he can normally manage forgiveness too.
Gordon is, nevertheless, a highly-respected member of a new breed of agents who, with his business partner John Colquhoun and Warwick Horton, who personally recruited Theo Walcott to the Key Sports management company, have built strong reputations. Along with other emergent football agencies like Base Soccer they specialise in spotting talent young and developing careers - rather than going for the quick buck.
A player at Swindon Town, Wimbledon, Gillingham, Reading, Bristol City, Fulham, Birmingham City, Hereford United, Walsall, Bristol Rovers and Leicester City, Gordon did not retire with the millions many in the modern game now expect. After football, he started working for Simon Fuller's 19 Management with Colquhoun before the two men branched off on their own.
Key Sports now represents around 60 players and managers including Walcott, David James and Shola Ameobi. In the world of agents that is often paranoid and secretive, Gordon's honesty is refreshing and he and Colquhoun are known to be passionate about undertaking their business in a manner that is ethical and fair.
During the World Cup finals they advised the Walcott family that staying in the Brenners' Park Hotel - which infamously became known as home to the WAGs - would leave Theo's teenage girlfriend Melanie Slade vulnerable to unwanted paparazzi attention. Simply by staying elsewhere in Baden Baden, the Walcotts were largely left alone.
Based near Stourbridge, Gordon did the interview as a favour for a reporter he has known for some time on the local west Midlands newspaper and has been dismayed at the interest it has sparked. Speaking out in this way will do him no favours among the agent fraternity and the wider football family but, as someone who has cut his teeth in a very combative business, he is also unlikely to take any of it back.Reuse content