Imps in bottom half of agent spend table in League One

The latest figures for agents fees have been released and the Imps are in the bottom eight when it comes to money leaking from the game by that method.

In total, League One clubs spent a combined £3.9m on agents during the reporting period, with ailing Bolton Wanderers the only club not to spend a single penny. A total of 12 clubs spent less than £100,000 on agents between February 1 2019 and January 31 2020, one of which was us. We spent £67,357 on agents and intermediaries, with Tranmere spending £65,000 and experiencing the same climb up a division. MK Dons, the other side coming out of the bottom tier, spent £142,000, more than twice the amount.

There are some success stories that eclipse our own relatively low spend. Rochdale spent just £15,000 and should be applauded; I actually really rate Dale at the moment. They struggled a little, yes, but they survive in this division on hard work and skill, not by spending big. On the other hand Southend, relegated by a good margin, spent £126,000. The biggest spenders in the division, by a mile, were Sunderland who saw £1.34m head out of the club and into the pockets of agents.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

The amount we spent on agents is also less than five clubs in the division below us; Plymouth (£81,537), Bradford (£114,010), Scunthorpe (£107,135), Salford (£111,619) and (predictably) Mansfield Town (£74,505). It’s also less than Notts County (£69,028) of the National League, but only just.

The new figure does show a rise of £23k on last year, when the same period saw us spend £44k on fees. However, MK Dons rose by£62k, whilst even Tranmere rose by £39k. I use those because they are the only clubs who came up with us and therefore would naturally have to adjust their fees (one would assume) by going up.

In total, League One clubs spent £3.9m on agents fees, with League Two adding £1.1m to see £5m leak out of the game to intermediaries in the bottom two divisions. The money further up will make your eyes water; £49m left the Championship and £263m went out of the Premier League. In total, clubs across England’s four divisions spent £317m on agents fees.

The full table, which you can see below, does show a correlation with the actual table to a degree. The efforts of Doncaster and Gillingham should be noted, relatively low spends on agents fees but with enough to finish in decent positions, whilst Southend, MK Dons and Bristol Rovers might feel they underachieved when compared to how much they saw leave their bank accounts.

Club Net total paid to agents/intermediaries (2019/20)
Sunderland £1,346,373
Coventry City £353,632
Ipswich Town £325,262
Portsmouth £220,367
Peterborough United £186,744
Fleetwood Town £178,535
MK Dons £142,200
Bristol Rovers £141,006
Oxford United £135,075
Rotherham United £128,501
Southend United £126,273
Shrewsbury Town £99,463
Blackpool £98,848
Burton Albion £87,251
Lincoln City £67,357
Tranmere Rovers £65,709
Doncaster Rovers £62,072
AFC Wimbledon £57,755
Accrington Stanley £30,035
Gillingham £28,089
Wycombe Wanderers £25,868
Rochdale £15,390
Bolton Wanderers £0
Total £3,921,805


  1. Still £67,357 too much when the players should be paying all, or at the very least, a big slice of that . I presume they are being employed by the player and not the purchasing Club.

    • My take on it is they act as intermediaries more than as agents contracted by the player. They pull the two sides to the table. I have no expertise in this so please I`d be interested in how it works. My cynical side says its typical of football exceptionalism and would not be tolerated in other industries. But what di I know?

  2. Interesting article Gary so Sunderland spent more on agents the the whole of League 2 put together?

Comments are closed.