Russell Calls For Fee Clarity
Colchester MP Bob Russell has used a monthly internet column to call on Colchester United`s board to clarify the exact details of the £91,300 in payments made by the club to agents during the summer 2007 transfer window.
Russell highlighted that the change in approach coincides with Robbie Cowling's arrival at the club and questioned the absolute necessity of parting with that sum of money to secure the transaction of a player.
On the highly controversial issue of agent fees, Russell said on My Football Writer: "For many years Colchester United had the proud reputation of refusing to deal with football agents, so I was dismayed to learn last week that the U's spent £91,300 on agents' fees during the final six months of 2007.
"There has clearly been a major change of policy following the departure of former Chairman Mr Peter Heard.
"In the interests of transparency, I feel that the club should state whether this was in respect of players joining or leaving the U's. I think that fans are also entitled to know which players were involved; who the agents were; and what the sum was in each case."
That would involve statements for deals involving Clive Platt, Teddy Sheringham and Mark Yeates, among others, who all arrived during the mentioned period.
Russell went on: "Colchester United got into the Championship without using agents, and did very well last season. To be told that the U's, for the current season, spent so much on agents (five spent less) in our division begs the question whether this represents value for money. What it does represent is around £25 for every season ticket holder."
Clearly, Russell, like many other fans, is not happy with the flimsy explanation from current owner Robbie that the fees were "necessary" even if it proves to be true, although Russell does not take into account that the Essex club need to attract more big-name players at a higher level of football in this division.
What is interesting is that Cardiff City paid less than Colchester in fees for the same period than Cardiff, a club signing both star strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler last summer.