Des Kelly Column: Dark shadows across land of the rising son.Byline: Des Kelly
Des Kelly (born 1965) is a British journalist.
A QUESTION for you. Children: a huge mistake, or a terrible idea?
It's a tough one, I know. There are certainly couples out there who reach a point in their lives where they suspect something is missing; they sense a lack of meaning or purpose and long to fill the void by caring for another tiny living thing.
Try a Bonsai tree.
Because the idea of a 'mini me' running around always sounds great until you are confronted with the horrific, red-rimmed death stare of new parents, people you once called friends who now do little more than smell faintly of sick and nod off in mid-sentence.
I'm told things get better as children grow up and you can teach them how not to do certain things, such as fiddle with Verb 1. fiddle with - manipulate, as in a nervous or unconscious manner; "He twiddled his thumbs while waiting for the interview"
manipulate - hold something in one's hands and move it matches, touch a hot cooker, play in traffic or wake daddy. Ever.
You also get the added benefit of being able to send these small people out to work at the earliest possible opportunity in the hope they will earn enough for your retirement home in the Caribbean.
This breed-'em-to-earn option is preferred by many of our football managers. Luckily, these bosses are also on hand to help their little ones young children.
See also: Little win a crust in conveniently-related jobs, having pushed their mini-me along a career path which leads straight to a football agent's door.
Here's how it works.
Manager A wants to buy Player B. Now there is absolutely no question Player B wants to join Manager A's club, since he has given 49 interviews declaring he would walk over hot coals to do so.
But, to be on the safe side, Manager A decides he needs to employ an agent WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE HIS SON.
After taking this leap of faith, Manager A then hands the agent a gigantic cheque as a reward for all his hard work and secrecy, thanks, in part, to the use of his undercover codename - 'Son'.
This practice is known as "keeping it in the family".
Obviously the scenario I have described is just supposition and fantasy. It would be a deplorable state of affairs if any manager was actually found to have abused the transfer process in such an insidious manner.
As we all know, such behaviour would be frowned upon by the bodies who regulate these matters, particularly in the case of any club listed on the Stock Exchange.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Let's look at a list of managers and soccer supremos who, I'm sure, act quite properly despite the co-incidental presence of their offspring in the shark-infested pool of football transfers.
There are many notable names on the list. For starters, Sir Alex Ferguson's son Jason works for Elite, an agency which was involved in the transfer of Jaap Stam Jakob ("Jaap") Stam (born July 17 1972 in Kampen in the Netherlands) is a Dutch football player, currently playing for Ajax. His nickname is De rots van Kampen (The rock of Kampen). He was voted best defender in the 1999 and 2000 UEFA Champions League. to Lazio and goalkeeper Tim Howard
Obviously, the fact that a manager's son also works for an agency which is buying and selling players for the club might count as an advantage, or, then again, it might not. We will wait to see what the FA discover during their investigation into the Howard deal.
Over at Arsenal, we find another strange quirk of fate involving an influential football figure and his son.
David Dein David Barry Charles Dein (born 7 September 1943) is the former vice-chairman of Arsenal Football Club and former vice-chairman of the Football Association. He was also the chairman of the G-14 group of European football clubs between October 2006 and May 2007. , the vice-chairman, could be diplomatically described as having a testy tes·ty
adj. tes·ti·er, tes·ti·est
Irritated, impatient, or exasperated; peevish: a testy cab driver; a testy refusal to help. relationship with agents in the past, particularly when Nicolas Anelka Nicolas Anelka (born March 14, 1979 in Versailles, France) is a French footballer who plays in the forward position. After winning the 1998-99 PFA Young Player of the Year award and making his name at Arsenal, he has changed clubs several times. was worming his way out of Highbury. But Dein should have no qualms about dealing with the Sports Entertainment and Media agency where his son Darren works, a company which also has Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and other past and present Arsenal players on their client list such as Francis Jeffers and David Seaman. Handy that.
Bolton Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce must also be re-assured by the expertise brought to transfer negotiations by his son Craig, who works for an agency called Sports Player Management.
Yes, there was a little bit of controversy back in September when FIFA FIFA International Association Football Federation [French Fédération Internationale de Football Association]
FIFA n abbr (= Fédération Internationale de Football Association) → FIFA f announced they would investigate claims Allardyce Jnr told Jay-Jay Okocha his transfer to Bolton wouldn't go through without the involvement of his firm, but, hey, it was denied. Nothing came of that and the reputation of everyone involved remains intact.
Then there's Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd. His son clawed his way up the greasy pole of success to find employment with the ProActive Sports Agency. Well done Kenny Shepherd.
The same goes to Jamie Hart, the agent son of Nottingham Forest manager Paul Hart. And to another Jamie, this time the son of Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock, who works for the HN Sports agency.
I realise every profession has an old boy's network and web of family ties. A network of contacts and nudge-nudge, wink-wink recommendations can open doors in many walks of life. The field of journalism is certainly no stranger to this phenomenon.
But transfer deals are often murky, financial puzzles where enormous sums of money are moved from bank account to bank account across national borders with little or no transparency.
There have even been occasions when large amounts of cash appear to have gone 'missing'.
So perhaps we should be thankful so many managers have sons working for firms involved in the transfer business. After all, they should be able to keep a good eye on all the cash Daddy's spending.