I’ve not bought a matchday programme for years, but for some reason did for the Arsenal game and found an eye-popping column from Hull City chairman Adam Pearson in it.
In an extraordinary slating, Pearson hit out at the ‘unlicensed advisor’ representing rising star Tom Cairney, saying that he ‘only has his own interests at heart.’
Youth team graduate Cairney only made his league debut at home to Wolves on January 30, but quickly became an integral part of the side, bagging his first league goal in the 5-1 thumping at Everton.
However, he was left out of the 18-man City squad which suffered the heart-breaking injury-time defeat to Arsenal, apparently as a result of this contract dispute.
In the column, Pearson wrote: “The club… will not be held to ransom by agents who do not have the best interests of the club at heart.
“Young Tom Cairney’s advisor is unlicensed and therefore the club is unable to deal with him which makes things difficult to conclude.
“An unlicensed agent makes negotiations very difficult as the club is not permitted to talk directly to them.
“An intermediary can be appointed such as an FA licensed solicitor but this just adds to the confusion with another unnecessary party who doesn’t know the player getting involved.
“The intermediary in this case is a non-FA registered solicitor who just acts a front for the unlicensed advisor.
“It could therefore be difficult to reach a satisfactory conclusion to Tom’s contract extension at this particular time which is a shame as Tom has done well in recent weeks and deserves a new deal.
“Unlicensed agents and advisors really are the scourge of the modern game! Why they just don’t allow themselves to be licensed and regulated is beyond me, although I suppose the answer is pretty obvious in that they only have their own interests at heart, much to the detriment of the club, player and the game in general.”
It’s rumoured that Cairney’s agent is demanding £15,000 to £20,000 a week, while Pearson wants an incentivised deal which increases the more he plays.
Whatever happens as Cairney enters the last year of his City deal, Pearson’s clear hostility to this agent is going to make the already difficult negotiations even more tricky.
Pearson hasn’t done much wrong since he returned to City but this column – presumably intended to force Cairney to choose another advisor – seems like a gamble that could backfire.