VOX POP: What is the most curious clause agents can recall in a football contract?
Sunday 08 August 1999
SHUTTLE TO THE MOON
When we got down to talking about insuring Stefan Schwarz, he was reminded that he could not take part in any dangerous sports. Players cannot ski, let alone bungee jump or parachute, so when Stefan said he had provisionally booked a ticket on the Shuttle for a trip to the Moon in 2002, we decided it would be wise to include a clause preventing him from going. But it was more tongue-in-cheek than anything; by that time, the deal was done and it was a just a bit of a wheeze to be honest.
LEBANESE MEAL AND THE OPERA
When my client went to sign his contract at Wimbledon, the club had included an additional clause. It stated that he was to get a pounds 50,000 bonus. But there was a catch. Further down was a section which said that if the team conceded five goals, the players' names would be put into a hat and three picked out at random. Those three would then have to fulfil forfeits like eating a Lebanese meal with Sam Hammam (which includes sheep's eyes and testicles) and sitting through an entire opera. He signed.
ONLY SHOOT IF YOU CAN SCORE
When John Fashanu signed his first contract with Wimbledon, I wanted to include a clause whereby every time he scored a goal he got pounds 5,000. Sam Hammam came back and said: "OK, but every time he misses a goal, I take pounds 2,000 out of his wages." I thought it was risky: if John missed three chances he'd be six grand in debt. I did agree to it... but I told John: "Look old son, only try to score a goal if you are 100 per cent sure that you can. If in doubt, leave it out."
HOW MUCH FOR THE BANGER?
Back in 1974, part of Peter Shilton's contractual negotiations with Stoke City included the chairman agreeing to buy Peter's car. If he agreed to buy it, Peter would sign for the club. We valued the car at about pounds 2,000 on the Tuesday. Come Saturday, the chairman had called to inform us that it was worth no more than pounds 200. I thought that bid was a bit pessimistic, but settled for the offer anyway because it was always that much gained. The deal was made. By buying Peter's car, Stoke had secured his services.
YOU'RE NOT A WICKETKEEPER
When Andy Goram signed for Rangers, he was a keen cricketer who played at a decent standard, I think. I don't know if he could have been an international, but he was good enough to compete for minor counties. But the board decided he couldn't play because of his fingers. If you are a keeper, the last thing you want to do is bat against a 90mph cricket ball. It may sound a bit up in the sky, but it makes sense. You have to protect your interests. To be honest, I'm surprised players are still allowed to play golf.
HE'S NO AGENT OF MINE
One situation which I once came across involved a club specifically forbidding a player from dealing with a particular agent. This was actually stipulated in the contract. It may not be a funny anecdote, but it is very relevant today. Not least with the Anelka case, in which a young lad has been badly advised by a greedy entourage. I can't help thinking that if clubs are prepared to spend pounds 5m on a player, they should be willing to put some money towards educating their young players.
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