Sometimes the Diggity Doc and The Wildcard talk to each other...
Diggity Doc - How's it going Mr Wildcard aka Sepp Blatter's biggest fan?
Wildcard - Look mate, if you're trying to wind me up it's working. No, it's going good, Doc. But I watched that Blatter doco on ESPN the other day and while I'll say it was a complete hatchet job, and none of it was in the least bit surprising, it was still interesting to see details of the corruption that we all know is going on in FIFA. One especially pertinent point was how he uses his power to 'convince' challengers to his throne that it'd be a bad idea to campaign against him. Oh, and what is this I see in the news today? Two rival presidential candidates just pulled out of the running. Hmm...
DD - Yeah, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all hope that Blatter falls on his power hungry sword. At least Luis Figo spoke up a wee bit right?
WC - Well, he did, and that was cool, but the thing with Figo is that he was grossly underqualified anyway. A legend of the game, but with bugger all political experience (and non-profit or not, FIFA is nothing but political). The best chance to overthrow him was always gonna be Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, who's still in contention. So we'll have to see how that goes. Prince Ali was in that ESPN doco, and he came across as a well-spoken, intelligent fella. FIFA is such a real-world Game of Thrones, it's crazy.
DD - Yeah but atleast we had Figo in the mix and when he pulles out, he voices his opinion which is some sort of progress ya know?
WC - I guess so. He went scathing in his statement afterwards, so there's that. But it's nothing new slamming FIFA for being shady, everyone does it now. It's hard to believe that Blatter won't hold power again but then maybe all the vocal disagreements start to influence members too. You never know.
Hey, so can you explain to me what this debacle with the Parramatta Eels is? It sounds like they're over the salary cap for paying players that aren't even on their team anymore. Their highest paid guy leaves to play in the NFL and somehow they've still got too much cash on the books. How exactly does that happen, Doc?
DD - Yeah well have you ever heard a guy who has had the first hand experience that Figo had, be so open and public with his comments? I haven't.
Ah, the Parramatta Eels. Let's be frank, it's extremely unprofessional and silly of them to get in a pickle like this. I reckon it should serve as a hint that maybe cluba should be more transparent with how their salary cap is used, more like how it is in the US. But more to your point, it's complex. Paying out old players, scholarship type of things for their younger players and an almighty mess with their second tier salary cap. It's definitely a case of dumbos not doing their jobs properly.
WC - Ah, yes and no on the Figo thing. No, I haven't heard someone be so high profile and public about saying them things, but it has happened in different circumstances. On that Blatter ESPN doco they said that the FBIs got a case file on FIFA corruption and that's why Blatter is too scared to go to America these days. But within that they've got a very high profile snitch who's been digging up the dirt on the federation. They trapped him with tax evasion, typically. He's anonymous, but everyone knows it's Chuck Blazer.
I absolutely am onboard with more transparency in salary issues with the NRL. If i's all in-house and hidden, of course mistakes will be made and cheaters will have their go. It sounds like the Eels need to invest less in superstar halves and more in calculators. Does this affect Kieran Foran's decision?
DD - I think there's some privacy law that's stopping that tranparency but don't quote me on that. It would weasel out the idiots pretty quickly though wouldnt't it? Well Fozza has that get out clause if there's issues in the boardroom, but I reckon you can bank on him being an Eel in 2016. Brad Arthur would have sold him on what they're building towards so aslong as Arthur is still the coach and Beau Scott's still going then it should be fine. Still not sure on Daly Cherry-Evans though
WC - Yeah, these backflips are stupid. The fact that they can happen at all is a pretty good case to stop people negotiating in-season, but then that's a dead horse that's been flogged more than once. Speaking of transfer sagas too, what are your opinions on Raheem Sterling? He's getting flogged in the media for being a greedy bugger, but to me it seems like hes being led astray by the bane of the footballing world... player agents. (FIFA doesn't count as part of the football world any more than Apple is part of the music world). Sterling's agent is particularly bad, turning this whole thing into a drawn out public affair. Except that it might end up with Lil Sterling on your Gunners now.
DD - Yeah we've talked way too much about that backflip thing, but I'm not too fussed about it all. Everyone knows the deadline, everyone knows that the player isn't secured until that deadline and it kinda adds another layer of excitement. Yes, just after Stevie G has been saluted for his service to Liverpool, we now young Sterling chasing the cash. He's always been that type though and if he can't see that he's on a one way path to pissing off a variety of fans then he deserves to be scolded. The agents don't deserve any attention, fuck em.
WC - The thing with Sterling, though, is I don't think he's done much wrong. All contract negotiations start with bartering and gauging outside interest, it's just that his agent's gone and taken it too far by making it all public and it's backfiring on a 20 year old kid with a career to worry about. Then they took it past the tipping point where it doesn't look like he can stay. Ah, well. Guts to Liverpool. The story goes that Paul Scholes never hired an agent in his entire career.
DD - Would you have an agent as a professional athlete? I probably wouldn't, it would be a fun challenge to learn about all of that and be 100% in control of your career. Obviously these are athletes not scientists, so some definitely need an agent but I'd be educating myself on all of that. Plus you're no throwing away 10% of your salary.
WC - That's a great question coz I was just wondering that. I wouldn't want one, but it's probably hard not to get taken advantage of otherwise. Maybe a lawyer on retainer for when I need a presence at the negotiating table. If you're dealing with a club and people within the club that you feel you can trust, I don't see why there can't be a mutual benefit to that though. The club would damn sure like not having to deal with some glory boy with a suitcase full of un-cashed cheques. And like you say, the player gets to keep more of his money. There's bound to be more to the situation than that, but given that athletes have control over their public image and all that now through social media, well that's one less reason for it all.
DD - It would make everything so much easier, especially in football where the agents say this or that. You can respond to any speculation with a tweet; completely false these guys are dumb, or that could possibly be true, but then again it may not. You could have a good old time with it, entertain the fans and what not while keeping it real as well.
WC - "@Raheem_$terling: Yo @LiverpoolFC! Show me the money!"
Problem solved. No middle men. That's the way of the internet, isn't it? Cut out the middle men, everything's immediate, person to person. It's happening to the music industry and maybe it'll happen to football too. Maybe. Then again, money has a way of taking care of money. Which has been a bit of a theme this convo, hasn't it?
DD - The peptide business is all about the money mate and I need to go get that money. Toodle noodle and yes, after all that I would quite like Raheem Sterling at Arsenal. Theo on one side, Raheem on the other, give us the title now.
WC - Haha, well... don't be shocked if Theo leaves this off-season. Just saying. Aloha farewell, Doc, if there's one thing that sits on the opposite side of the spectrum to player agents, it's peptide dealers.