Sir Les: Player power and agents stopped me from becoming a manager.
By Alessandro Schiavone
QPR director of football Sir Les Ferdinand has disclosed that the rise in prominence of football agents in the game and player power held him back from becoming a manager.
Ferdinand, who scored 149 times in the Premier League for a number of London clubs including QPR, Spurs and West Ham began his post-career as Tottenham’s striker consultant in 2008 before deciding to take up the challenge as the Hoops’ Director of Football in 2015.
In fact, any plans he initially had to carve out a managerial career at the top end of English football were rapidly shelved when he saw the growing influence agents were gaining in the game.
There is a long-held view that 'super' agents are ruling the world’s most famous game by dictating when one of their assistant’s time at a club is up, while players can down tools in a bid to force through a move or run down their contract at any time if they wish to depart.
And legendary former centre-forward Ferdinand, who deals with the players’ representatives on a regular basis in his role at QPR, when it comes to signing or selling a player and extending existing deals, believes that there is only so much any sporting director or chairman can do if a play has set his heart on moving on.
He said: “Fifteen, 20years ago, the clubs had too much power. I think now the players have got too much power and it’s very difficult.
“That’s probably what stopped me from becoming a manager. I see the powers that the players and the agents have in the game of football. And it’s not a pretty sight.”
The 54-year old former England international also spoke candidly about VAR, a tool that is still splitting opinion in English football, nearly two seasons after its implementation at the start of the 2019/2020 Premier League season, given its at times inaccurate, inconsistent and delayed decisions when it comes to giving or caulking off a goal after reviewing it.
Despite the FIFA’s high hopes of eradicating mistakes and making life easier for under-pressure referees, Ferdinand believes VAR has not translated into success on our shores just yet.
He said: “VAR is failing the game of football and it’s taking the emotion out of the game. I think it was needed to a degree for the fact that the stakes are so high in the game now. But it’s being used in the wrong way at this moment in time. When they get it right I think it will be okay but at the moment I think they haven’t got it right.”