Raheem Sterling – take a look inside this football agent’s head and be scared, very scared   Recently updated !

The Football Agent - front cover

The Football Agent – front cover

“Rich Dinero is the world’s richest football agent. His job is turning modest young men into money-grabbing mercenaries earning two hundred grand a week. It’s brought him a champagne lifestyle of fast cars, beautiful women and private jets. The secret to his success? He never takes no for an answer. Until he meets Fliss, a pretty young receptionist who won’t play ball. And the game is on. .”

So runs the gist of The Football Agent. Rich Dinero is one of the new breed of Machiavellian movers and shakers who’ve become such an integral part of the modern game. Or as some might describe them, a plague. As we draw close to the business end of another English Premier League season the spectre of agent power has raised its ugly head again. The much publicised PR disaster for Liverpool’s 20 year-old striker Raheem Sterling is a case study in how to piss off fans, club, and team-mates. Liverpool’s new contract offer of £100,000 a week was reportedly thrown back in their face, despite it being close to a 200% pay rise on Sterling’s existing £35,000 a week. Minimum wage, Raheem? As I write, word on the street has it that Sterling’s ‘advisers’ are encouraging the greedy oik to hold out for a figure closer to £150,000 a week. You heard that right. One hundred and fifty grand a WEEK. Not a year. A week. And there are fifty two of those in a year. Nice work if you can get it.

Back in the day when player loyalty was taken for granted, such mercenary greed would have made fans’ blood boil. But with the amount of money now swilling around in the game, greed is becoming the norm. Nowadays even a five year contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It can be ripped up the following week, and the player toddles smugly on his way in pursuit of the filthy lucre. In Sterling’s case, he has basically handed Liverpool a ransom note. A hundred and fifty grand a week, or I walk.

Raheem Shaquille Sterling is not the first young footballer to have had his head turned by an exploitative Svengali type posing as an ‘advisor’. Let’s face it, many of us would find it hard to turn down the kind of rock-star lifestyle being dangled in front of these testosterone-fuelled young men. Once an agent latches on like some sucker fish, all notions of ethical behaviour go out the window. The players are taken to West End clubs, wined and dined at movie star restaurants, showered with expensive gifts as a demonstration of the millionaire lifestyle awaiting them, IF they put themselves in the agent’s hands. For most of these impressionable youngsters, it’s game over.

The result has seen an astronomical rise in player wages in recent years. Not to mention transfer fees. It’s become such a phenomenon that the BBC have built a special web-page where you can compare what you earn to modern footballer. Just make sure you have a stiff drink first. I tried an annual figure of £30,000, which is close to the national average wage in the UK. The comparison that came back shocked me, at a time when there’s so much poverty and austerity around. We’ve built a world where even a person in a decent job earning £30k a year would need to work for 617 YEARS to earn what Real Madrid’s Christiano Ronaldo earns EVERY YEAR. That’s a footballer we’re talking about. Not some Nobel Prize winner. Not a brain surgeon. Nor a brilliant nuclear physicist. If I’d started in the 14th Century and earned £30k a year, I’d only just be nearing the total of £18,200,000 Ronaldo earned last year alone. For kicking a bit of leather around on a muddy field. I’ll leave you to work out the madness of a world where that’s considered perfectly normal.

Of course it wouldn’t be fair to pin all the blame on agents. The kind of money Sky have been injecting into football over the last ten years has attracted some notable multi-billionaires with huge cheque books. Rich sugar daddies who have been buying up clubs like toys, fuelling the expensive bidding wars for the biggest stars. And let’s all hold up our hands. We’re the ones queuing up to hand Sky a shedload of money each month for their wall to wall sports coverage. There are genuine push-pull forces at work here, from which none of us can be absolved.

That said, there seems little doubt that agents are pouring petrol on the fire. By turning players’ heads, spreading rumours, deliberately unsettling them at their clubs, they are manipulating a lucrative game of musical chairs where footballers are flogged from club to club like knocked-off jewellery. Each move driving the player’s perceived value ever higher, eroding player loyalty to the point of extinction. Notable exceptions like Liverpool and England legend Stevie Gerrard who has remained a one-club man throughout his career, must shake their heads and wonder when jumped up young money-grubbers like Sterling (who couldn’t lace Gerrard’s boots as a player) put in wage demands higher than Gerrard ever earned in his entire career. Clearly the disparity in the sums involved has nothing to do with talent. It has everything to do with agents. And greed. And it’s not hard to see why.

Every time a multi-million pound transfer fee is agreed, the agent takes his cut. Every time he quadruples the wages of his client, he quadruples his own percentage. It is absolutely in an agent’s interest to be constantly moving a player from club to club as often as he can. To put ideas in his head. To make him feel he can always get more somewhere else. Next year. The year after. In such a world it’s hardly surprising that many big name agents have grown wealthier than the ‘portfolios’ of millionaire footballers they represent.

You could be forgiven for thinking things couldn’t get much worse. But here’s the thing. It used to be that football agents were required to pass tough examinations and have all the proper insurances in place. Not anymore. Only last month (on 1 April 2015) FIFA actually took the brakes off, by deregulating the licensing system for agents even further, incredible though that may seem. And no, it wasn’t an April fool’s joke. It was FIFA, perhaps the most corrupt old-boy’s network on the planet, run by the grand-daddy of dodgy deal-making himself, Sepp Blatter. Thanks to Blatter any old used-car salesman can now get a letterhead made up and call themselves a football agent. God help us.

Like many a fan who hands over a grand of their hard-earned cash every year for a season ticket, there are times when all this greed and disloyalty make you want to give up and walk away. But for most of us there is no choice. It’s in the blood. We’re as likely to give up on our team as we are on our parents. So that’s why I’ve written this book, for football fans everywhere. To get one back on the agents, and expose them for the greedy, unscrupulous gits they are. The Football Agent is an attempt to look inside an agent’s head from a fan’s point of view. If you’re an agent, sorry, but this is how you look from the terraces to us, the fans you treat like scum. Have a look in the mirror. It ain’t pretty. I’ll leave the last word to Dinero himself.

“I was thinking like the other day, how having any woman you want in the world can be like a massive responsibility. For instance. I’ve had Hollywood actresses round here with egos the size of Old Trafford. What a pain in the arse they were. You wouldn’t believe half the shit they make you wade through just for a simple poke. Sometimes I think fuck it, who needs that kind of shit after a hard day at the office. I am Rich Dinero. The most successful football agent in the history of the beautiful game. If I want to go down Orgasmic and pick up a local slapper with great tits and an accent like Eliza Doolittle, who’ll bugger off back to Topshop in the morning with a century in her knickers and no questions asked, fuck it, I will. Who needs some spoiled charley snorter whose agent is gonna wake you up at five in the morning waving a confidentiality clause under your nose, and they can’t find their Blahniks under the bed, and they look at you through mullered eyes as they chop up their breakfast on the dresser with a Barclaycard, and all their slap has worn off and you look at them and think, jesus, how did you ever get into films?”

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BBC condemns UKIP for not dusting behind the radiators 1   Recently updated !

Feather duster

The £35 feather duster at the centre of the scandal

BBC revelation exposes a tale of cobwebs, economic mismanagement and racist cleaners at the heart of UKIP central office

The BBC, that bastion of fair and impartial reporting the world over, today published a devastating article revealing the depth of corruption, sexism, racism and economic mis-management at the heart of the UK Independence Party.

After going through the rubbish bins at the party’s Newton Abbot headquarters in Devon an undercover BBC journalist, who can’t be named without breaching their own impartiality guidelines, turned up an invoice for some feather dusters which had been purchased for an exorbitant £35 from John Lewis. Apparently, UKIP could have gotten the same posh dusters for a steal from Barry’s Barmy Bargains market stall in Camden Town, for 49p a pop.

“It’s a scandal,” said reporter Jazmin Lawro. “And just another example of the disgusting profligacy that runs from top to bottom of this neo-fascist party. It’s nothing less than a disgraceful abuse of public funding, that’s what it is. It shows they’re not fit to hold office.”

When a UKIP spokesman confirmed that the money used to pay for the feather dusters wasn’t in fact public funds, but had been paid for by donations from UKIP supporters, Lawro was unrepentant. “You would say that wouldn’t you, you evil right-wing trash.”

The BBC investigation also revealed that a cat burglar (who also can’t be named due to BBC ‘impartiality’ guidelines) had broken into UKIP headquarters on Sunday night and after running his finger over several window sills and book shelves, discovered a cobweb behind a radiator in the women’s toilets.

“Absolutely disgusting,” screamed Lawro. “I mean, he didn’t find any cobwebs in the MEN’S toilets, did he? How sexist can you get! And another thing, we tapped Farage’s mobile and discovered the cleaner was an English lady from Finsbury. Can you believe that? English? What’s wrong with Polish cleaners, or Libyans? Aren’t they good enough to clean UKIP’s toilets? If ever you needed evidence of what a deeply sexist, racist party they are, here it is,” she said, holding up the feather duster invoice.

“UKIP need to come clean on this. People need to know what kind of fascist scum they’re voting for. Wait till I get home tonight, I’m going to tweet the shit out of that white, male, middle-aged little Englander’s ass. What? I’m not allowed to do that as a BBC reporter? Who says? Oh. All right. Scrub that then, I never said it. I’ll get on the blower to Evan Davis or Andy Marr, get them to invite Farage onto their show to talk about politics or some bollocks, then they can drop bombs on him about the feather duster scandal and racist cleaner, and kick the shit out of him. I mean, what the fuck are UKIP still doing around anyway? We thought Farage was supposed to disappear into the wilderness after the unrelenting campaign we waged to undermine him during the general election. Can’t he just bugger off and let the BBC get on with indoctrinating the thick UK public on the benefits of political correctness and a socialist European super-state? For fuck’s sake.”

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Bad day at the office 14   Recently updated !

UK Cash Cowboys Bank Front low res

UK challenger bank launches sleazy high street sex shops to help boost sales

 

UK Cash Cowboys launch high street sex shops to help flog its balance transfer credit cards

Ainsley Fibber / Bitchfield Evening Standard / 30 April 2015

The well-respected credit card giant Barkercard is locked in a death struggle this morning with the cheap and nasty newcomer to the market, UK Cash Cowboys, who today launched a challenger to Barkercard’s market-leading 36 month balance transfer credit card.

While both company’s cards offer 0% for 36 months, the Cowboys 1999% per cent APR is considerably higher than Barkercard’s 18.9%, whose 2.99% balance transfer fee is also dwarfed by the Cowboys’ 119.99%. So basically, for every £100 of debt you transfer to the Cowboys’ card, they charge you £120. And if you slip a day over the 3 years without clearing the balance, expect to be paying thousands in interest from day one. It’s all there in the small-print if you look, under the section titled ‘Don’t look here, it’s all boring, just buy the card and everything will be fine’.

But before you reject the Cowboys Credit Card out of hand it comes with additional customer benefits that really make it stand out from competitors like Barkercard. In fact, in its latest blatant attempt to bribe customers into buying some of its financial tat, the upstart challenger bank has renamed its high street branches as ‘Garden Sheds’ and launched half a dozen chill-style ‘Steam Rooms’ on the streets of our towns and cities, for customers to hang out, buy stuff, and have sex.

The refurbished high street properties, which were recently purchased from the national dry-cleaning chain Starchleys after they went bankrupt, were given a quick hoover and a lick of paint in an overnight re-branding exercise, before having a new logo slapped on and opening their doors as UK Cash Cowboys.

The bank have opened 75 of these Garden Sheds, or ‘Sheds’ as they’re being radically called by the challenger bank, in towns and cities up and down the country, where customers can pay in and withdraw money, just like in a normal bank branch.

But the Steam Rooms are where the real action is. These are an entirely new concept which are for now only being trialled in a handful of major cities like London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Norwich to measure customer interest. Customers won’t actually be able to do any banking transactions in the Steam Rooms. They’ll be more like drop-in centres where customers can put up their feet after a hard day’s shopping, relax on a sofa and check out UK Cash Cowboys’ new balance transfer card and range of other exorbitantly-priced financial products on a company iPad, while being distracted by a live sex show streaming onto overhead TV screens.

“They were originally going to be named something safe like Lounges or Stores where we’d bribe the punters with free coffee and sticky buns and tacky shit like that, you know, colouring books for the kids, but that just felt really lame,” said Chief Marketing Officer Dick Holder. “We decided if we were going to really stand out from the other banks we’d need next level thinking. So we briefed in our agency, Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman and Shytter, you know, the geniuses behind our new Pigeon Ukulele Blues and Tortoise on a roller skate TV ads. They’ve come up with the whole brilliant Steam Room idea, which is like so totally out there. I mean, they grey-skied the whole concept of what we all crave as human beings. Once you’ve got the boring shit like tea and coffee out the way, basically sex is where it’s at. And Steam Room so captures the whole free sex thing, don’t you think? Completely radical. Have you had a look inside one yet? You can get condoms, Viagra, sex toys, amyl nitrate, morning after pills, abortions. We’ve really pushed the envelope on this one. You can’t get this kind of bare-faced bribery at any other bank.”

When I quizzed the CMO about the thinking behind calling their main high street branches ‘Garden Sheds’, and whether that might confuse customers, Holder was unrepentant. Slapping me across the face, he said, “Watch it, sonny. Any more lip from you and you’ll be feeding fish at the bottom of the Wensum. You are dicking around with the wrong people. We are bankers. You don’t question ANYTHING we do, kapeesh? Not if you want to keep your fingernails on. Listen, the Sheds are like, where you typically keep all your tools and knick-knacks when you want to do shit, yeah? Keep up. So we had the idea that our branches, sorry, our Sheds were like where you could do all your banking shizzle, you with me? You come in, buy some insurance, pay into our pension, gamble a few grand on dodgy shares, so we get to fuck you over and take all your money. All under one roof. Like a shed. Geddit?”

In a first for a UK high street bank, the Steam Rooms will be staffed by teams of highly photogenic ‘Trolley Dollies’ and oiled-up ‘Gladiators’. The dress code will be chic see-through lingerie, dicky-bows and thongs. The staff will offer a range of casual sexual services for free, to the drop in customers. “It’s a hooooge win-win,” said Xerxes, one of the Gladiators from the Norwich Steam Room, “I get to boff loads of massively frustrated housewives with serious nymphomaniac issues, who just pop in for a five minute top-up on their way to Tesco. For them they get to be famous by appearing in the videos, as well as getting a right proper seeing-to. I’ve not had any complaints, put it like that. I think this kind of commitment to customer service is a real first for UK banking, which definitely sets UK Cash Cowboys apart from the other boring banks. To be honest me and Emma thought it would have been brill to call it like, you know, a Speakeasy, Den or Massive, some bad shit like that. But I guess with all the boy girl action going on in the Customer Satisfaction Cubicles upstairs management wanted to keep it real. See that chandelier swinging? That’s proper gland to gland combat, that is. You could write your name on the mirrors in the bogs up there.”

Xerxes’ sentiment was echoed by CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, who was awarded a CBE for services to bullying in the recent New Years’ Honours list. “We think it’ll be a real game changer. I mean, name me another bank where a poor person can just drop in and get a quick BJ from a smoking hot bimbo, or you can drop off your wife for a cheeky bit of double DP by two totally ripped hunks hung like trident missiles? We’re hoping this blatant appeal to the basest desires of our punters will encourage them to buy loads of our over-priced crap and increase my already considerable personal fortune massively, so like my bonuses are off the map. Why are you looking at me like that? Have you ever broken a bone? Do you how painful it is? In fact, do you know what it’s like to have your fingers pulled back til they snap, sweetheart? Well take that stupid look off your face then. I’m running a bank, lovey, not a nursery.”

The bank’s Culture Director, Steve ‘WD40’ Lovett, was excited about the Cowboys new move into bricks and mortar. “When Starchleys went bankrupt, we thought, get in. I mean you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, do you. We’d been hanging around for years hoping to pick up a bank on the cheap, to give us some kind of ersatz credibility on the high street. So naturally when Starchleys went tits up we were in there like a rat up a drainpipe. Bosh. Take that you muppet. Got them for an absolute steal. For now we’ve just opened Steam Rooms in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Norwich. We’re still in ‘proof of concept’ stage, yeah. Once we’ve demonstrated we can really hook the mugs in with promises of free casual sex on tap, then get them to buy shed loads… ha ha… of our high-charging, middle-of-the-road financial tat, we can turn them into long-term cash cows. We’ll be fucking minting it bro,” he said.

I was about ask Lovett what the high street challenger bank would do if the Steam Rooms proved an unprofitable venture, when LeGrande brushed him to one side and got right in my face. “Don’t talk to me about profits,” she hissed, “we’ve just blagged a 3.6% share of the mortgage market, you dickhead. Our retail deposits have increased to £22.2bn, and our credit card balances totalled more than a BILLION quid! Fuck you, loser. My end of year bonus is going to be COCKING HUGE this year! Ten mill at least. What are you on, thirty K a year, you sad journo muppet. As for the Steam Rooms, don’t you worry about them sweetheart. If they don’t wash their face we’ll sink them quicker than the fucking Titanic. Screw the customers. They can go down the sodding brothel and pay for it like everyone else. Now jog on back to your newspaper, you nosey cunt. And you can quote me on that.”

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