Agent 'relying too much on evidence of former scout', says Bolton Wanderers' lawyer

Tony McGill on the way into court

Former manager Sammy Lee

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

THE agent suing Bolton Wanderers was accused of relying too much on conversations with a Whites scout who has since died, a court heard.

Wanderers’ lawyer, Neil Berragan, told Tony McGill he was putting “a great deal of weight” on his discussions with Jack Chapman, a scout for Wanderers at the time of Gavin McCann’s disputed move from Aston Villa in 2007.

Mr McGill is pursuing costs of £390,000, plus costs over allegations that Whites and the Sport and Entertainment Media Group (SEM) conspired to exclude him from the £1 million transfer of Mr McCann.

The agent told Manchester Civil Justice Centre that he had been in contact with Mr Chapman on March 29, 2007, to discuss the player, but phone records showed no contact with anyone at Wanderers to discuss the deal until May 8.

Mr Berragan said: “You are putting a great deal of weight on your discussions with the late Mr Chapman here, aren't you?”

Mr McGill said he had only been able to obtain records from two of his four phones, as records from his French and Spanish lines had not been provided.

He added: “I trusted Jack as a friend and someone I had known for many years.”

Mr Berragan questioned why the agent had not been in touch with more senior members of staff at the club.

Mr McGill said he would not have gone over the heads of his contacts at Wanderers — Mr Chapman, chief scout Dave Worthington and former coach Ricky Sbragia.

The agent rang then manager Sammy Lee on May 28 and was handed to director of football Frank McParland, the court heard.

Mr McParland asked “What's the deal?” before the pair discussed details of the transfer, the court was told.

Mr McGill added: “I remember 100 per cent Frank saying ‘If the figures do not deviate too much we will do the deal’.”

When asked why he abandoned his contacts at Wanderers on May 28, Mr McGill said: “Because I smelt a rat, that’s why. I smelt an unlicensed agent trying to get in on the deal.”

The court also heard about the contact the football agent made with other clubs surrounding his player’s future.

Rangers, Everton, Fulham and Middlesbrough were all contacted in the week following the May 13 match between Wanderers and Aston Villa at the Reebok, in which Mr McCann was an unused substitute for the visitors.

In that time, he spoke with only one member of staff at Wanderers, Mr Chapman.

Mr McGill said: “To me, as an agent, Bolton was a done deal so I didn’t need to keep getting back in touch.”

The agent made 27 calls or texts to Rangers manager Ally McCoist, the court heard.

He had also invited Mr McCoist to join him at the May 13 game, where Mr McGill said he first introduced the player to Wanderers scout Mr Worthington. Mr McCoist declined the invitation.

The case continues.

Player ‘was being coerced’

AGENT Tony McGill said he dropped legal proceedings against Gavin McCann in 2009 as it had become clear the player was being “coerced”, the court heard.

Mr McGill agreed a settlement during his case against Mr McCann for about £50,000 — a fraction of the £155,000 he had already paid in legal fees.

After Mr McGill had finished giving evidence at Manchester Civil Justice Centre yesterday, Judge David Waksman questioned why he had dropped the case against Mr McCann in the face of such losses.

Mr McGill is suing Bolton Wanderers, chairman Phil Gartside, ex-manager Sammy Lee, former director of football Frank McParland and club secretary Simon Marland for colluding with the Sport and Entertainment Media Group in cutting him out of the £1 million transfer of Mr McCann in 2007.

Mr McGill said: “A much bigger picture emerged during the trial.

“I told Gavin at the time that I would much rather sue Bolton and SEM over this. I think he was being coerced.”

The court heard that Mr McGill was sent a letter at the time of the McCann case which told him the FA would take any damages Mr McGill won away from him — even if his law suit was successful.

Mr McGill said the letter was not sent by the FA.

Jerome Anderson, SEM’s chief executive, and Dave Sheron, who Mr McGill has alleged was operating as an unlicensed agent at the time of the transfer, are set to give evidence today.

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