Scott Brown, agents and Moneyball


Scott Brown’s injury-enforced absence from the team in recent weeks has at least taken heat of his contract situation but that will change in January, when he is back in the team and available to sign a pre-contract agreement.  Neil Lennon reports that Celtic have met Scott’s terms but have declined to meet his agent’s demand.

Agent’s often have exclusive representation agreements with players which guarantee the agent a cut of any contract signed when the agreement is active.  5% of a four or five year contract for a top-earning Celtic player could easily reach £300k, or £360k including vat.  This is a lot of money for the player to pay out of his after-tax income so what commonly happens is the agent uses his exclusive deal with the player to negotiate a pay-off from the club instead of acting for the player.  Unlike the player, a club can reclaim vat and pays before, not after tax, so the same money going to the agent costs the combined player/club less.

It’s often the case, however, that the agent’s fee paid by the club has little resemblance to the percentage the agent would get representing the player.  While a player has an exclusive deal with an agent, a buying club has three deals to agree: the selling club’s fee, the player’s wages and the agent’s fee.

Big agent fees don’t necessarily mean bad business for the buyer, as the agent may well have made a deal achievable at a purchase price which would not have been otherwise possible, but clubs are typically more reticent when it comes to paying agents to renew contracts for their existing players.  One (then) SPL chairman told me he had a flat £500 tariff for such deals.

Artur Boruc concluded his last contract with Celtic without an agent.  At the time he explained that he would need an agent if he was moving club but didn’t need one to negotiate a predetermined level on the Celtic pay structure.  This would have saved Celtic money and might have earned Artur an extra bonus.

Scott Brown is not in this situation.  If he is offered a contract of around £6m over five years, after 50% tax and 12% (?) national insurance (which Celtic and staff pay…), his take home pay from the contract will be considerably less.  5% of the contract could end up looking like 14% of take home pay after vat is added.

Celtic will also be alert to the dangers of precedent.  If a player’s ‘advisor’ can get a significant pay-day out of a contract renewal there is no incentive for the player to conclude a deal with Celtic without an advisor, indeed, there is incentive to get one involved.

I’ve no information whatsoever on what is going on with Scott’s contract but the portents don’t look promising.

A couple of years ago we spoke about the excellent Why England Lose and its predecessor, Moneyball.  Two books that sought to explain how to find value in football and baseball respectively.  The Brad Pitt movie, Moneyball, based on the events analysed in the book, is now out.  Not sure making a drama out of statistics is wise but I’ll need to check it out.

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  1. It clashes with the CQN quiz, but Radio 4 is broadcasting a drama about England’s recent failed world cup bid on Friday at 9 pm.



    How tawdry it all is.

  2. Mort -the Moneyball book is well worth a read.



    While it attempts to come up with a novel approach to recruiting staff into a successful sports team it doesn’t mention the concept of asking players to pay to play for Rang##s.



    Some things are just too far fetched…

  3. Re Kirk Broadfoots attack


    Wasn’t it just amazing that as soon as the incident was reported by the media it was a “sectarian attack”?


    Has any apology or retraction of this statement been made?


    No, I didn’t think so.


    Just another pumped up story by the gutter press to incite hatred between supporters.

  4. Saw Moneyball last week Paul, and enjoyed it.



    Inevitably got me thinking about whether the theory could be applied to “soccer” – think there are a lot more variables at play than in baseball. Although that is also a team game it is really one-on-one with pitcher vs batter, so much easier to compile stats.

  5. Paul67



    Scott brown should be paying us money after the amount of game time he has lost through injury.



    As my auld da says when discussing our Captain, “Get him tae …..!”




  6. ttt



    You have changed my mind :>)



    But I still think these situations can be better managed…..I can’t help it……..Management…..Suits…..Arghhhh……



    You said it yourself.



    Power to the Workers.

  7. Watched Sportscene last night on the old Sky box



    Rangers get beat by Kilmarnock so they show last years meeting between the teams at Rugby park when they won the league.



    We beat St mirren so they show the last time St nMirren beat us at Parkhead.



    Is it just me or is that ridiculous

  8. It doesn’t seem good business not to pay his skank agent whatever it is and then, at least, have a saleable asset. Obviously, Broony is for the off. Forget about him. Personally, I never liked him and don’t think we need him.


    Of course, if the deal gets done, I will be right behind him!

  9. tommytwiststommyturns on

    Paul67 – “Celtic will also be alert to the dangers of precedent. If a player’s ‘advisor’ can get a significant pay-day out of a contract renewal there is no incentive for the player to conclude a deal with Celtic without an advisor, indeed, there is incentive to get one involved.”



    We might be better with agents involved rather than witness another Bobo booboo! :-)




  10. DBBIA



    Far fetched or not, it could be a great idea in the future. For example, how much more dedicated and willing to bust a gut for your team* would you be knowing you had put your own hard earned cash into the club.






    * Attempting to get in a position to ensure the attacker is offside excepted.

  11. bournesouprecipe says:


    29 November, 2011 at 12:02


    ‘Where’s philvis?’




    Maybe he’s on strike?

  12. Neil Lennon has spoken about his sadness over the unexpected death of Wales manager Gary Speed.



    The former Leeds, Newcastle and Everton player was found dead at his home in Chester on Saturday morning. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.



    Lennon revealed that he had met Speed only weeks ago and paid tribute to the manager. Having played against the Welshman during his time in England, the Celtic manager said that Speed had been a difficult opponent.



    “Gary´s assistant at Wales was running a sports science course and I met him a couple of months ago,” Lennon told Celtic’s official website. “All the tributes coming his way are genuine.



    “He was a fantastic pro and a fantastic player. I sometimes think that gets overlooked because of the longevity he had in his career. People always ask me who was your toughest opponent, and when I played in the Premier League, Gary would’ve been in the top two or three.



    “It’s very sad and I think the whole football world is in complete shock, and we send all our condolences from our club to the family. It’s a tragic loss to his family and to football.”

  13. Good summation Paul.



    I cannot make up my mind as to the merits of SB,I think the team when he plays has a harder edge but not as structured.


    Ominiously we seem to play well when he is missing,but irrespective I would be loath to allow a £4m asset walk for nothing.



    Perhaps we should re-sign,pay one year to the agent,assess the form of the player,then either sell or keep.



    The only other consideration is the medical report on the player as to his longevity.

  14. Scott Brown played ok in the run-up to his contract talks, as is often the case. Outwith that period, he was not the finest.



    Therefore, fare thee well, Broony !



    And as far as losing out on an investment is concerned, I don’t necessarily go along with that. We paid the cash to get value for money over the contract period. That value was not very forthcoming. Some you win, some you lose.



    Yes. We may have signed him up like Sammy to sell him on again a few months down the line. But who’s to say that Sammy won’t do a Bobo and just milk it ? Broony could have done the same.


    KITTOCH 1210



    As I said earlier…..



    Occam’s razor-we’re all paranoid.

  16. @Kittoch,



    You’re spot on mate, I don’t even know why I bother watching Sportscene, just another biased anti-celtic broadcast from the BBC. Even when Rangers lose they can’t stop themselves playing highlights of past Celtic defeats or failures like getting John Rankin on as a guest to show his squiggler against us 3 seasons ago, shown on two seperate occasions during the programme. Running St Mirren’s 3-0 defeat of us in 1990 was just ridiculous, they don’t even try and hide their anti-Celtic views.



    That said, was great watching wee MacLean’s face tripping him as he had to go through the agony of watching his team’s bottle crash down in Ayrshire. I saw ra peepel in town getting a bit rowdy at Central Station that evening and my brother who works across the road text me an hour later saying they had started fighting one another and there were bottles being thrown. Unsurpassed dignity indeed.

  17. Did the Broadfoot story make the papers ?



    …the fan heckling inside the ground and the getting out of the car to start fighting in the street activity

  18. THE EXILED TIM says:


    29 November, 2011 at 12:09






    You have changed my mind :>)




    There is joy in Timdom when one “sinner” repents, than 99 who don’t need to.:>)




    I posted this a few days ago, to a rousing chorus of indifference.




    thomthethim says:


    20 November, 2011 at 14:01


    I recently read a review of a book called:-


    Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.


    He is a Nobel Prize winner.


    The premise of the book is, that we may think of ourselves as logical creatures, but that most of our decisions and opinions are based on prejudice and emotion, instead of using analysis to arrive at a thought.


    I found it a very interesting hypothesis and could identify many on here as falling into either category. ( me, too, sometimes).


    The analytical being the likes of Auldheid and SFTB, amongst a few notable others.


    The prejudiced and emotional, being virtually the rest of us!

  19. Paul 67 “I’ve no information whatsoever on what is going on with Scott’s contract but the portents don’t look promising”.



    You mean there’s a danger he might stay???





    There is absolutely NO need for a player to have an agent represent his interests while negotiating a contract. They should only concern themselves with off-field affairs,as used to be the case.



    Every player is entitled to be represented by his union negotiator,who will have the added advantage of knowing the type of contract regularly offered by each club,etc,and is available for a nominal fee.



    Agents are leeches. Players are suckers.

  21. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Why should Celtic pay Scot Browns agent he is employed by Scot Brown to represent Scot Bown so surely Broonie should be paying him. I personaly think we should let him move on it would free up one large salary to use for another player imo Scot has had a few good games for us but not enough of them for a 4 Million signing so maybe its time for us to wish him well and let him move on.H.H.

  22. u17s



    Celtic v Queeen’s Park



    kick-off tonight 730pm



    up at Lennoxtown



    Glasgow Cup

  23. Don’t forget to switch on the ole Hunguffery filter when reading about what may, or may not be happening, with hoopslegend wee Scott Brown.



    THe first rule of Hunguffery is that there’s always room on the back page for bad news about the Celts.

  24. he news that RTC broke THREE DAYS AGO that Craig Whyte has never paid TAX or NI for any of his employees is for me the biggest news item concerning Scottish sport this year. Bigger than him actually buying Rangers. Bigger than Mc Bain and McIntyre arrestments. Bigger than the wee tax bill. Bigger than the sheriff officers knocking on the door. Bigger than their medals being seized by debt collectors.



    How is this news item being handled by the Scottish media ?



    If as expected .. has anyone managed to bring it up on a phone in ?



    If not why not ? Is this why Jim Traynor and his ilk are giving their opinion on John Boyles 10 year old initaive to introduce the sale of alcohol back into the Scottish game ?





    What could happen if you don’t pay HMRC



    HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is responsible for making sure that money is available to fund the UK’s public services and expects people to pay their tax in full and on time.


    If you are unable to pay your bill in full and on time you should contact HMRC as soon as possible. HMRC’s contact details will be clearly shown on the paperwork you receive.


    The most important thing is to contact HMRC straight away. The sooner you contact HMRC the sooner they can begin working with you to find a solution. HMRC may, in some circumstances, allow you additional time to pay.



    On this page:


    What happens if you ignore a payment demand


    Failure to pay a demand – England, Wales and Northern Ireland


    Failure to pay a demand – Scotland


    Insolvency proceedings in the UK


    More useful links


    What happens if you ignore a payment demand


    Ignoring a demand does not make the debt go away. If you don’t respond you may be charged additional interest, penalties and surcharges. Your debt may be referred to a private debt collection agency and during 2011-12 HMRC will be using the following agencies to pursue some debts on their behalf:


    Advantis Credit Ltd


    Apex Credit Management Ltd


    Close Credit Management Ltd


    Commercial Collection Services Ltd


    Commercial Credit Services Group


    Credit Solutions Ltd


    Direct Legal and Collections


    Fairfax Solicitors Ltd


    Fredrickson International Ltd


    iQor Recovery Services Ltd


    Rossendales Ltd


    HMRC may take legal action to recover the debt and costs.


    If HMRC believe you or your business are insolvent they may start bankruptcy action or winding up proceedings.


    The longer you delay contacting HMRC the less likely HMRC is to allow you any extra time and the more serious the consequences are likely to be.



    Failure to pay a demand – Scotland


    Collecting debts through your PAYE tax code


    If you are in Pay As You Earn (PAYE) employment or receive a UK-based pension HMRC can reduce your tax code to collect your debt, if you owe £2999.99 or less.


    HMRC will send you a letter telling you that they intend to try to recover the money owed in this way from the 6 April of the following year. You will be sent a PAYE Coding Notice between January and March immediately before the start of the tax year on 6 April to say that your tax code includes the collection of the outstanding debt.


    Sheriff’s court


    If you fail to pay what you owe, HMRC will apply to the sheriff’s court as soon as possible after the date of the demand letter for a warrant to collect all outstanding debts.


    You will have 14 calendar days in which to pay your debt from the date of the warrant. If you still don’t pay the debt HMRC will:



    1. take the money directly from your pay or bank account


    2. take and sell certain goods (within your business premises or kept externally on your property)


    3. make you bankrupt



    Find out more about sheriff court proceedings in the factsheet Form





    Insolvency proceedings in the UK


    Personal bankruptcy


    Any sole traders or individuals in a partnership who fail to meet all requests to settle their debt can be petitioned for bankruptcy by HMRC.


    If the court makes a bankruptcy order, it may mean that:


    you can be forced to cease trading or you lose control of your business


    the court appoints someone to investigate your financial affairs


    your goods and/or assets are sold to pay the debt (plus costs)


    you may be unable to obtain credit over a certain amount


    future income is used to settle current debts



    Find out more about sequestration in Scotland – EF5 (Scotland)





    Winding up your company


    HMRC may petition the court for the winding up of incorporated companies and partnerships that fail to pay their debts.


    If the court makes a winding up order, it may mean that:


    your company/partnership is forced to cease trading or you lose control of your business


    goods and/or assets are sold to pay your debt plus costs


    the court appoints someone to investigate your financial affairs


    you may be disqualified from acting as a company director



    Learn more about winding up a company – EF6 (PDF 81K)





    Hail Hail

  25. Tweet from Clyde1.



    RadioClydeNewsRadio Clyde News


    Are you affected by the foods, stuck in your car? Call the Clyde Newsroom on 0141 565 2345 with your stories!



    Too much white bread constipates me.

  26. Vinibhoy - Named Neil Lennon on his birth certificate on



    I personally hope that we don’t waste another penny on him.



    I can’t see a place the team for him.



    Shame I’ve got a Broonie tshirt at home, but I’d be willing to make the sacrifice!

  27. Skoosh must stay.



    His form was generally good last year, when played out right. He was our best performer at Ibrox a few months back (driving runs, INCH-PERFECT passing), where we were winning until he had to go off injured. The form of wee James Forrest has been excellent in his absence, but that cannot be expected to last throughout the winter, when the pitches turn to tatty fields and the hammer-throwers dish out with impunity. There is still a bit of fragility about this young team, and we’ll need SB to see us through.





    I got K-coded about 20 years ago for reasons which I still don’t understand.



    After a huge argument with the revenue,which got me nowhere nearer to understanding,I took the only option available.



    Unemployment for a year.



    Cleared the K-code,and started again as normal the following year.



    Not ideal,but a wee bit more honest than craigyboy.