Please, please. please, let me get what I want

The shadowy world of the football agent is one that is cloaked in secrecy amid accusations of greed. Thankfully, we've got one of the good guys on board to lift the lid on what life really is like at the sharp end of a notoriously cut throat business.

Lifting the lid on football's dark arts

Carlos Tevez: Back in the fold at Manchester City

Staunch union activists Arthur Scargill and Jimmy Hoffa would have been saluting the courage of comrade Tevez and shop steward Joorabchian during their recent power struggle with Manchester's capitalist aggressors but for the rest of us it was just further proof politics and football make for messy bedfellows.

Like Scargill, the player and his representative have lost a battle that appeared misjudged from the off. Having spent five months focusing on improving his golf handicap in Argentina with the sun on his back and family at close quarters, the only surprise is that Tevez has returned at all. Few would have been surprised if he'd done a Hoffa and disappeared altogether.

Throughout an affair that has tarnished not just the player's reputation but the sport as a whole, I have to say Manchester City's conduct has been first class. Their meteoric rise from Premier League also-rans to a potential European super-power has not been without the odd faux pas but from a neutral perspective, the manner in which they have refused to buckle to the demands of the player will have won them plenty of new admirers.

And that's coming from an agent!

It would seem - thank the Lord - that the penny has finally dropped (at a reported cost of £9million) for Tevez and his advisors.

That most rancid of phrases 'player power' has seemingly been rendered redundant by the fact City have an owner with a bottomless (oil) well of money. Tevez has unable to force a move from the Etihad to Italy, France or Brazil because the club has the resource to dig their heels in and let the player rot. Few other clubs have the same luxury.

So what if Carlos went on strike? City could cope and afford to see an asset lose value. Even without Tevez they remain top of the Premier League and you wouldn't bet against them winning the Europa League either. Mancini's 'boring' team don't seem to have had much problem scoring in his absence.

Even wearing my agent's hat I'm happy that City saw off the Argentine's attempts to engineer an escape from Manchester and its solitary restaurant.

Many agents, and I've spoken to a fair few about this very topic, are appalled and slightly embarrassed at the way the player and his representative have acted.

Unfortunately, the 'Brotherhood of agents' gets tainted each and every time there is bad press for a member. In football there's a saying 'you win together, you lose together'; as an industry we're more 'you lose together, you lose together'. One agent's mistake invariably has negative repercussions for the rest of us. It's not as though we were that popular to start with.

Would I like to be Tevez's agent? Yes, of course I would. I'd love to look after a player with such a talent, wealth and commercial appeal; what agent wouldn't? However, in my view he should have taken a different course of action from the off and this isn't something I'm saying via the power of hindsight or distance.

"One agent's mistake invariably has negative repercussions for the rest of us. It's not as though we were that popular to start with."

Secret Agent

Quotes of the week

The bad smell of an unhappy Carlos was beginning to waft around the corridors of Carrington and the Etihad long before that night in Munich. A few sulks after being substituted or starting on the bench were becoming evident and his general demeanour wasn't going unnoticed by the TV cameras. Producers aren't stupid and if they get even a sniff of player unrest they are the subject of a cameraman's focus all afternoon. How many times have we seen Lampard's gloomy face over the past month?

Kicking up a stink is an age old trick employed by a footballer and is - I regret to say - often instigated by an agent's suggestion. In most cases a given club would want to get rid of any unruly player so they don't lose money on an asset or upset morale in the dressing room. Unfortunately for Carlos Tevez and Kia Joorabchian they chose the wrong club to pick a fight with. Did City cut off their nose to spite their face in the Mexican stand-off? You bet they did, but in this case their actions should be applauded.

City have saved a wad of cash from not having to pay Tevez, they remain top of the league and now they have a player available again, who no one can deny despite his appalling attitude, is a match-winner. He could be the difference between the red and blue half of Manchester come May. So you have to say it's a win-win situation for Roberto Mancini and the club.

If the reports are to be believed, the player is out of pocket by some £9million following his disappearing act. That's a lot of golf balls.

Clubs still want Tevez, but his stock has plummeted and he comes with a health warning. Any club who might take Tevez in the future will be wary. If they've any sense they will cover themselves and include certain clauses written into his contract in case of a repeat of his antics. If I was working on behalf of a buying club I'd say it's an absolute must or no deal.

One thing for certain is that he's not going to earn the same coin that he's on at Eastlands presently. As an agent, I have to say that whoever has his ear, and it may be a few people, have got this one badly wrong.

A player sulking to win a move isn't exactly a new phenomenon. Think about Nicolas Anelka and just about every club he's been at throughout a nomadic career. It's not something I would ever encourage my players to do though. It's just not worth the hassle. It affects your reputation as a player and trust me, it's easier to earn a rep for being a pain in the backside than lose one. I'd also add that behind every sulking player is an agent - me!

With transfers only permitted during January and the close-season a player's opportunity to switch clubs is limited (obviously loans are permitted in the Football League). If a player wants a move and his current club appear unwilling to let him go, then along with his agent they need to decide how he's going to go about it.

Does he wait and see out his contract? That will depend on how long the contract has left to run. If it's a year or two he has to hope that any interested club has the cash to buy him during the next transfer window. With how football's finance is at present that can make for a long wait. I always suggest to my clients that they be open and honest with their club. It's the best way.

Explain why you want a move sincerely and without any claptrap and there's a chance a manager or chief executive may say: 'Okay, I will let you go if you play out the rest of the season for us without any aggro'. Agree to put in 100 per cent and then everyone's happy.

It never really works out like that, but we can but dream...we can but dream.