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Andy Carroll's former agent reveals football's dirty secrets

23 Sep 2011 09:37:30

Andy Carroll's former agent reveals football's dirty secrets

Lifting the lid: Peter Harrison Andy Carroll's former agent has lifted the lid on the dodgy dealings and bung culture in British football. Peter Harrison earned millions from the game, but he has turned whistleblower after walking away from the sport. Today, Harrison reveals the game's guilty secrets after spending 20 years at the top representing the likes of Carroll, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Rivaldo and other top Premier League players. In a remarkable interview he claims: He will accuse two high-profile managers of taking bungs in a television expos?. He has been threatened by underworld characters for exposing football's dirty secrets. He earned ?900,000 for a day's work, brokering the transfer of a leading Barclays Premier League player. Players are routinely tapped up by clubs. He offered sweeteners to young players by buying them cars. The FA turn a blind eye to the dark arts. Harrison, who played under Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, said: 'I'm doing this in the interests of the game - people take their kids to matches, they buy the shirts, the season tickets and the TV subscription. 'There are so many dreams, but they should also know there are a few agents getting away with murder. They break the rules time and again. Paul Stretford was fined a substantial amount of money and banned - how can he be the only one?' Harrison left the game after an FA arbitration panel found against him in a legal battle over the ?35million transfer of Andy Carroll to Liverpool. The FA tribunal ruled in favour of Carroll's new agent, Mark Curtis. Right deal: Harrison successfully negotiated Carroll's first professional contract Harrison was Carroll's agent when he burst on to the scene and successfully negotiated his first professional contract and subsequent deals at Newcastle. Carroll still had two months left on his contract with Harrison when Liverpool bid for the England striker.  Harrison remains convinced he should have been involved in the Liverpool deal after investing so much time in the striker and becoming a family friend.  He was even named on the custody document with Northumbria police when Carroll was arrested for alleged assault in 2009. Carroll was fined after admitting assault. Harrison said: 'I'm sorry it's come to this but I'm going to bring down two big-name managers and they know who they are. I'm doing a TV documentary and I'm exposing everything that went on.' Harrison admits he freely took advantage of the naivety of West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson to pocket?900,000 in commission in the deal to sign Lucas Neill. He added: 'The best way is to get a "friendly agent" to act on behalf of the club - that way you can split the commission with someone you trust. 'If, for example, the agent is based in Monaco, the club will pay his commission into an offshore account and he will pay the player's agent. It's all untraceable. Easy pickings: Harrison pocketed ?900,000 in commission in Neill deal 'The commission with the club is whatever you can negotiate. When I took Lucas Neill to West Ham instead of Liverpool I earned ?900,000 and they put the player on ?72,000 a week. 'He was going to Liverpool but West Ham wouldn't take no for an answer. It was incredible. At the time I thought it was just business - I had bills to pay, office, telephone, travel - but when I look back on it now I'm embarrassed.' The FIFA-licensed agent also admits offering financial inducements to young players to keep them under his wing. Harrison said: 'The days of parents being offered fridges are a thing of the past - now it's cars, houses and cash. Some of them just come out with it up front and ask for the money - staggering. In many ways they deserve it because they have been watching their son in rain, sleet and snow since he was seven years old. 'The better the player, the more you look after their parents - it becomes a business decision. I've had to buy young players cars in the past. If they're good, it happens.' Harrison, who was exposed by a BBC Panorama programme in 2006 for talking to Chelsea about his client Nathan Porritt, then under contract with Middlesbrough, claims there is a circle of trust in football. He said: 'There is so much money being made and paid that people are frightened to rock the boat, but I'm not. It's like a magic circle of trust and people don't want to be on the outside. It's a cosy little club. There are a few managers who are close to agents, they do the same deals, and let's be honest it's not because that agent can spot a player. 'It's funny how things get done, let's put it that way. If you have a relationship with someone and gain their trust, you might have to go through a manager's favourite agent toget a deal done.' Harrison has claimed to Sportsmail that one club are 'under the protection of the FA'. He insists the club use the same agent for all their deals  and that there are kickbacks as a reward. Sportsmail has been unable to substantiate this allegation, but  he has notified the FA of his concerns. Costly: Harrison was left out of Carroll's ?35m deal Harrison added: 'If you look at the deals certain clubs do at the top, it's the same agents doing them. There have been a lot of complaints about that club but the FA do nothing. 'Players know things go on, but they turn a blind eye to it all. As long as they get paid they don't care.' Harrison also claims that some managers are in on deals and bring in trusted 'friends' and agents to make sure they go through. He said: 'When Panorama happened it soured my relationship with a couple of people. I made a lot of money - millions - and lost a lot because of bad business  decisions, but the last two years have been horrendous. 'I've been told by other agents and people connected to football that managers have been told not to work with me. A couple of managers and a couple  of agents have made it a terrible two years.'  He alleges that they tried to get the underworld to get heavy with him. 'I'm not blowing my own trumpet but I've been involved in deals for 20 years and been at the top and I've got a right to tell people what goes on on this side of the fence. 'I keep talking about Andy Carroll, but in my opinion he was poached from me. When Liverpool signed Andy they brought in someone to act on behalf of the club to broker the deal even though Damien Comolli is their sporting director. Star names: Harrison also represented the likes of Rivaldo 'Why do they need an agent on transfer deadline day? Surely  they just pick up the phone to Newcastle and ask, "How much for Andy Carroll?" Something's wrong with the game when it comes to that. 'I complained to the FA but in my opinion they don't want to rock the boat with Liverpool or Newcastle.' Managers, chief executives, agents and chief scouts routinely flout the rules by tapping up players, according to Harrison. He added: 'Agents meet managers, chief executives and scouts every day without the permission of the club holding the registration of the player and it's a silly regulation. 'Some clubs pay well over the odds for players. FIFA guide you, but sometimes chairmen and chief executives are under big pressure to get deals done.' Harrison claims he has complained to the FA many times about fellow agents, but insists nothing is ever done. He added: 'There is a lot wrong with the way football is run in  England - things could be so much better. There should be two or three independent people at the FA and on the Premier League, as well as an outside party, to regulate football agents.' Neither the FA nor Liverpool wished to comment last night.  Charles Sale: Agents fight over Newcastle hotshot Andy Carroll's contractHe mixes with gangsters and was banned by the FA... meet Wayne Rooney's unsavoury Mr 20 per centAgents in FA probe over former Hull chairman Paul Duffen deals


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