On his frequent appearances on the Roker Rapport podcast, Sunderland AFC owner Sewart Donald has often made known his displeasure at the way football agents operate. The term ‘necessary evil’ was used, which was endorsed by Sky Sports’ anchor and former Oxford United director, David Jones.
Stewart showed his displeasure at Josh Maja’s agent today by almost live tweeting the situation. Basically, the player told manager, Jack Ross, that he wanted to stay at the club and would sign a new contract.
Whether he communicated this desire to his agent isn’t known. What is known, and what Steward Donald tweeted, is that his agent went to straight to Sky Sports and said that the player wouldn’t be staying, but leaving - despite the club matching the player’s demands.
Mr Donald has been at pains to say that Josh Maja himself has been the epitome of professionalism and that in his dealings with the club he has never wavered from wanting to stay at the club.
His agent is where the duplicitous activity is coming from. Firstly, he doesn’t have the courtesy of informing the club that his client supposedly doesn’t want to play for Sunderland any more - he simply goes straight to the media, presumably in an attempt to force the club’s hand. But it seems he acted without regard for Stewart Donald, who refuses to play the old game.
Going public would be something the agent wasn’t expecting.
The owner has appealed for fans to ease off Maja as he isn’t the reason the deal is stalling. But at Blackpool on Tuesday, there was no evidence of the fans getting on his back. Quite the contrary. After scoring the only goal of the game, he went off to a spirited reception as he was substituted in the 75thminute.
Granted, there are some mutterings on social media, but they do not represent the groundswell of opinion.
I love the attitude of the new owners to stand up to laggards, agents and p*ss-takers of the club. It’s one of the most refreshing aspects of the change in ownership.