Crystal Palace: Steve Parish slams agents’ greed, reveals what scares Chelsea and wants to be like Arsenal
Crystal Palace chairman and fan Steve Parish has been talking with The Times’ Matthew Syed:
On Fame Through Football:
“When I came into football, I had a successful advertising business employing 3,000 people in 13 countries. But you know what? My school never asked me to come back and talk to the pupils. Nobody knew who the hell I was. Then I bought a loss-making football club in south London and suddenly everyone wants to talk to me and hear my views on the world. It’s probably the worst business decision I ever made. But because you are an owner, you suddenly matter.”
“There were some agents who were getting £2,500 payoffs to organise a Coutts mortgage with a s*** interest rate. They are making millions out of the players. The players trust them, then they get ripped off. Not all agents are like that; some are damn good. But this kind of thing goes on all the time.”
“Every deal should be transparent. You should have to publish where the money goes on every deal. That will embarrass clubs out of paying so much to agents. I know one deal recently where an agent got £3 million. Their power is based on knowledge. We [the clubs] have no knowledge. What knowledge do I have about the right amount of money to pay for a player?…
“If I have an agent saying, ‘I can get this player £50,000 a week around the corner’, I don’t know if he is telling the truth or if it is an almighty bluff. I have about five seconds to decide because that is how fast football moves.”
Why Own A Club?
“For [Roman] Abramovich [owner of Chelsea], it’s, ‘The more visibility I’ve got, the safer I will be when [Putin] comes after me’. For the sovereign wealth fund [in Abu Dhabi, where Manchester City’s owners are based], it’s about promoting the country. The fund has trillions in it. They have no concept of money. For the Glazers [owners of Manchester United], it’s about making money. Americans feel that Premier League clubs are undervalued assets. The Glazers totally got the value of the United brand. You have got to hand it to them, they have made tens of millions by being strategic; they have milked the brand for all it’s worth.”
In the past he has had mroe to say on Palace’s London ricals:
“In 1995 at Stamford Bridge, what do you think the gate was? 14,000. That tells you if you have £1bn, people like success. Chelsea have come a long way…
“Roman bought Chelsea because it was well positioned, in the right league and he could make all those improvements. It is in a pretty nice part of London and I am sure that had a big effect. Arsenal had massive investment in a new stadium. We went precisely nowhere. It’s a bit like Formula One, if you are not going forwards you are going backwards. That’s what I am determined to do something about.”
Can Palace be huge?