Blackpool VitalFootball brings to you exclusively how a transfer works and what goes on when a club tries to sign a target… with Matt Williams.
The Early Stages…
How is a transfer target identified?
There are a number of ways players are identified, the Gaffer has a list of would be signings usually this list has dozens of names for each position. The chief scout and management team also give their thoughts on would be signings. Priorities change game by game, an example would be if say Rhys Evans picked up a knock we would look to get a keeper in on loan, as the manager would be reluctant to go into the game with just Lewis and young Kyle.
Players agents constantly ring the manager and management team offering their players, every player they have is the next Steven Gerrard, John Terry etc, I have yet to come across an agent who says his player is not good enough, although we have one instance last season where we didn`t sign a player and the agent at the end of the season conceded we had a lucky escape! As well as the calls we receive Agents almost every day fax or email their client lists. The Football League also have a facility where by they will circulate a players name to every other club should he be available.
How is the approach made?
This is dependent on the club, player and agent involved, we have found the best practice is for the two managers to speak, by doing this you can find out exactly the availability of the player and his current salary requirements. Once availability has been confirmed we would make a formal offer for the player and request permission to discuss personal terms, once that has been agreed you usually find the player wants his agent to become involved. With loan deals, the process is slightly shorter.
How long does it take for an answer to come back?
That is depended on the other club`s circumstances, as you know football changes daily and a club may agree for a player to come and then change its mind following an injury to a player. If you are making cash offers for players, the process is slower because each bid has to go to the chairman etc, obviously every club wants the best deal for themselves and contrary to what some think, the chairman tries his hardest to get Blackpool FC the best possible deal. From a player`s point of view, they have to discuss the move with their family, quite often the player will want to come and have a look at the club and surrounding areas and then make a decision. It is like if you were to change jobs, you would want to make sure the change was right for you and your family.
What is the role of an agent? And when does his role stop?
The agent is get the best deal for his client, some are better than others and easier to deal with! A good agent would be at the club for the initial talks and then again when the player puts pen to paper. Andy Morrell`s agent for example was different class, he came up with Andy last Friday to discuss terms and he was back here on Tuesday to check through the paperwork and ensure the transfer went through ok. As I said some are easier to deal with than others!
Does every bid that is made for a player have to go through the board of directors?
Every offer we make and every transfer we do, we run it past the chairman he usually says yes, and gets the best possible deal for the club, on the permanent players contract it has to be countersigned by Karl.
Do all transfer bids have to be recorded by the club?
Every written offer we make or receive for a player is kept on record, you would be surprised the number of players over the years we have either made offers for or turned down offers.
If the club hears that another club is interested, what do they do and do they panic?
I wouldn`t say way panic, we try and do everything we can to sell Blackpool to the player. Chris Shuker for example signed for less money than we were offering, because of the locality. Rest assured apart from physically dragging them to the ground to sign we do everything possible to try and sign them.
The Player And His Club
If another club is ahead of Blackpool FC in the race to sign a player, are BFC informed by the selling club?
Normally the selling club would say we have had an offer from x and the player`s agent will verify that and say how much they are offering, we don`t usually get involved in Dutch auction`s because there is only one winner and it is not the club!
Once a bid has been accepted, do the club contact the player verbally or is a meeting set up?
We usually speak to the player and his agent, get a feel for the player and if he is interested and we are interested then a meeting is set up.
If a meeting is set up, is that normally at Bloomfield Road, or a neutral venue?
It depends on the location of the player, we prefer meetings to take place at the ground, we can show them surrounding areas etc. Having said that we have met players at various hotels up and down the country. One player even met the Gaffer at the airport before he flew off on holiday!
When a contract is offered to the player, is he encouraged to think the deal over, or pressured into making a decision?
The agent will usually negotiate the offer for the player and it takes time where the finer detail is agreed. The last thing we want is a situation like Leeds had when the signed Seth Johnson where Peter Ridsdale sat down with the player and his agent and told them not to try and negotiate because they were unable to pay anymore than £35k per week, the agent and player have since gone on record and said they would have signed for £15k! Obviously we aren`t in the same bracket, but I doubt the supporters would be impressed if we offered x without any negotiation!
After The Signing
What paper work is involved in the subsequent signature?
There is a contract – 8 pages
Bonus schedule – 3 pages
Transfer Form – 2 pages
Registration Form – 2 pages
Agent Declaration Forms – 2 pages
Transfer agreement between the two clubs
We have to do four copies of each, one for the League, one for the FA, one for the player and the other for the club.
Does the player have a cooling off period?
What does the club do to help the player with relocation, for example, Andy Morrell?
Obviously we will put the player up in a hotel for a month or two whilst he finds somewhere, we try and encourage them to use Glyn Jones Estate agents and move to the local area!
We would like to thank Blackpool FC secretary Matt Williams for providing the relevant information to TorontoPool’s questions.