There’s an ugly side to football which a lot of people within the game prefer not to talk about. Players know about it, managers know about it, agents know about it and the media know about it.
Of course, what we are talking about is corruption and it’s nothing new. Football has been tainted with it for decades, the problem is now so much bigger however because of the millions upon millions involved in player transfers – and a lot of it is black money which leaves very little trail.
In many cases authorities and police investigators know exactly what’s going on, the problem is that obtaining strong enough evidence to stand up in court is virtually impossible.
The worst part of this dirty stain on the game is that there is almost nothing that anyone can do about it. Imagine being a manager of a club who is looking for say a defender. Agent A comes along recommending a player valued at 5 million while agent B offers you another valued at 7 million.
The manager weighs up both options and sees very little difference between them. Agent B offers the manager a 10/15/20% kickback from his commission – in untraceable cash, for his 7 million player. What do you think that manager is tempted to do?
If the player does not work out, tough luck, it’s not his money that the manager outlayed. The player can be sold after a period of time so that part of the original transfer fee can be recouped.
Ask yourself, why is it that for every big money transfer that succeeds there are at least one or two that fails? Is it pure coincidence?
Anyway, enough of my cynical rant. Here’s a story which was reported on Sky Sports that may be of some interest.
Skysports.com understands football agent Willie McKay has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the City of London Police following its investigation into alleged corruption in football.
McKay was one of a group of five men arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting in November 2007.
The South Yorkshire-based agent has always claimed his innocence from any wrongdoing. McKay, who had been on police bail pending further inquiries, is believed to have been freed from bail and no longer under arrest following investigations from the City of London Police.
A spokesperson for City of London Police confirmed: “A 49-year-old man arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud in November 2007 has been released from bail.”
McKay has found himself in the spotlight since Lord Stevens’ probe into alleged corruption in football. The Scot was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by the Quest investigation in 2007, before the City of London Police launched its own investigation. McKay was delighted to be finally cleared of any wrongdoing.
“I have always insisted I was innocent and I am delighted that I have been cleared at last,” McKay told skysports.com. “This has been hanging over me for two years and it has been a stain on my repuation so I am happy to be exonerated.”
My love affair with Manchester United began very shortly after I migrated to Australia with my family in 1956.
Football had already been my passion but being isolated in a country where it meant nothing to anyone except fellow migrants, I began following English football closely through subscription magazines like the Charles Buchan Football Monthly and World Soccer which incidentally, I've still got stored away after more than 50 years.
The Munich disaster happened when I was 15 years old and the bond was formed. Matt Busby, Bobby Charlton and others became childhood heroes. The FA Cup was won just 5 years later then, when that was followed by the European Cup in 1968, the love affair was complete!
With George Best in 1991
Throw in legends like Denis Law and George Best into the mix and it’s not hard to imagine why the club became part of my life even though I was living thousands of miles away from Old Trafford.
The many events connected with the club in the years since has only cemented a connection which will remain until the end of my days.