Football agent sues Bolton Wanderers - Day 2
This live event has finished
- Football agent Tony McGill is suing Bolton Wanderers and sports agency SEM for £390,000.
- The court case is continuing today at Manchester Civil Justice Centre.
- Republic of Ireland and former Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is due to give evidence this morning.
THE agent suing Bolton Wanderers accused the club of “concealing wrongdoing” by backdating transfer papers, a court heard.
Tony McGill told Manchester Civil Justice Centre that he found it “suspicious” that one piece of paperwork, signed by chairman Phil Gartside, relating to the £1 million transfer of Gavin McCann from Aston Villa in 2007, was not completed with the rest of the documents when club secretary Simon Marland returned from holiday.
Instead, it was signed by Mr Gartside in his absence, with the date changed from June 8 to June 1.
Neither Mr Marland or Jeffrey Weston from the Sport and Entertainment Media Group (SEM), who are fighting the £390,000 suit alongside Wanderers, could remember why the document had been backdated. They both claim the other person was responsible.
Wanderers, Mr Gartside, Mr Marland, former manager Sammy Lee, Frank McParland, SEM, its CEO Jerome Anderson, Mr Weston and David Sheron are contesting the allegation that they conspired to cut Mr McGill out of the transfer of Mr McCann.
Mr McGill, who gave evidence for much of yesterday, said the only reason he could see for the document being backdated was to conceal wrongdoing.
He said: “They could have sent it all on June 11. What strikes me as suspicious is that this was the only contract signed on June 8. Why was it not left until June 11 for Marland? What was the panic?”
Mr McGill added that email exchanges between Mr Marland and Mr Weston proved that SEM were in fact representing Mr McCann.
SEM contest that Mr McCann did not have an agent and that they were involved on the club’s behalf.
Mr McGill told the court he believed SEM engaged in a practice known as “switching” and represented the club instead of Mr McCann so he could avoid tax.
Had Mr McGill been representing the player, the court heard he would have either “grossed up” Mr McCann’s wages or persuaded Bolton to pay agency fees on the player’s behalf.
Mr McGill pointed to a flurry of phone and text activity between himself and Mr McCann in the weeks leading up to the transfer as proof he was acting as his agent.
He referenced a text to McCann asking “Bolton?” followed by a three-minute call from McCann to McGill as evidence they had discussed the deal.
SEM lawyer Lisa Walmisley argued the calls were of a general nature and not between player and agent.
Mr McGill added: “I don’t resent Mr McCann. He was a good friend for a while but succumbed to temptation.”
The case continues.
McGill admits breaching FA rules by having an oral agreement with McCann. But he says most transfers are agreed in the same way, with papers signed as the deal is completed.
McGill accused SEM of "switching" and representing the club instead of McCann, whereas he would merely seek to "gross up" McCann's wages or get the club to pay the agent on the player's behalf
Lisa Walmisley, the lawyer representing SEM, said Sheron was simply "on holiday"
McGill said McCann gave his solicitor his phone records on request but that Dave Sheron, from SEM, "changed his number and left the country" when asked for the same information
He describes in some detail how he arrived at the £26,000 per week wage he was going to negotiate for McCann. The figure was grossed up so McCann would not lose out on tax.
McGill has presented the court with examples of his work, referring to agreements with Brad Friedel while the goalkeeper was at Tottenham and Aston Villa.
McGill is giving evidence now.
He also mentions that six to seven weeks after he disclosed the £1 million figure to McGill, Richard Fitzgerald, Villa's chief executive, rang him to ask for McCann's price. He said this surprised him as he only usually worked on the commercial side and, in the three transfer windows he worked with O'Neill, he did not ask about any other deals. O'Neill and owner Randy Lerner dealt with each other directly, he says.
O'Neill says there seems to be an "innuendo" suggesting a collusion between him and McGill. This is simply not true, he says.
He says he controlled Villa transfers at the time because the club had a new American owner who was unfamiliar with football
He says McGill is not a man he would socialise with and that he can be "quite a pest"
O'Neill says he's done more than 300 deals in his career, and a low percentage of those used McGill as agent
This is Ricky Sbragia
Martin ONeill is up now
Wanderers accuse Sbragia of voicing his intention to resign for family reasons after he had contact with Sunderland over a new job. He denies the accusation.
Sbragia says he had spoken with Dave worthington (former Wanderers chief scout) about McCann in his capacity as team coach. He says worthington told him that McGill was McCann's agent.
Ricky was a coach at Wanderers at the time of the dispute
Ricky Sbragia is giving evidence first
Here's a picture of Martin O'Neill.
Interesting stuff planned today, as Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, who was Aston Villa manager at the time of this dispute, is due to give evidence.
Hopefully we won't have the technical problems that dogged yesterday's coverage.
Good morning everyone. The civil trial is due to continue today as football agent Tony McGill sues Bolton Wanderers for £390,000.