In Summary
  • Smith - who is widely regarded as the first super-agent in football dealing with the likes of Maradona and Ruud Gullit - has launched 'The Fans Agency' along with a quartet of football fans he met on a promotional tour of his book at Oxford University.
  • The aim is to give the fans the opportunity to become shareholders in the business, buy shares in players' agency fees and by giving shareholders the power to decide where grassroots investment will be spent.
  • Smith secured Maradona as a client by luck after two cancelled meetings when he happened to be at Ossie Ardiles' house.

LONDON

Fans have a chance of investing in an agency discovering young football talent in what is a "revolutionary" moment for the sport, Diego Maradona's former agent Jon Smith told AFP.

Smith - who is widely regarded as the first super-agent in football dealing with the likes of Maradona and Ruud Gullit - has launched 'The Fans Agency' along with a quartet of football fans he met on a promotional tour of his book at Oxford University.

The aim is to give the fans the opportunity to become shareholders in the business, buy shares in players' agency fees and by giving shareholders the power to decide where grassroots investment will be spent.

Co-founder Smith, who initially forged a successful career in the music business producing albums for late American 'Queen of Disco' Donna Summer and Rhythm and Blues singing legend Billy Ocean, says this is the ideal way for him to stay in the game, even though his days scrabbling round looking for talent are at an end.

"It is revolutionary," Smith told AFP. "Like me I like to be different, pioneering.

"In my mid 60s it is nice to be pioneering and to have young fertile minds who can lead from the front. I am done with coal facing and chasing young players."

Smith secured Maradona as a client by luck after two cancelled meetings when he happened to be at Ossie Ardiles' house.

Ardiles, a 1978 World Cup winner with Argentina, was on the phone to his compatriot Maradona, who was looking for an agent, and the rest is history.

While that was a happy coincidence for Smith, he says fans can play a part in a more scientific approach to talent hunting as his new agency aims to break fresh ground.

"This is a piece of turf that fans have yet to tread, being an agent," said Smith.

"They have owned shares in clubs, marketing companies and merchandising and they have osmosed through the industry.

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