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Take the money and run?

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Jim Spence | 11:44 UK time, Saturday, 24 September 2011

So, Dundee United's highly-rated Scott Allan has refused a new deal on much improved terms from his current situation at Tannadice.

His manager Peter Houston says the youngster, who has come right through the United youth system, has had poor advice from his agent.

The case points to a dilemma for clubs who invest heavily in their youth systems.

While an agreed form of compensation is in place for young players who leave after having been at a club for a certain length of time, it does not offer the same rewards as a decent transfer fee for an up-and-coming player.

In the past I have suggested that young players should take the money and run.

But, I must admit I was thinking at the time of young players who had at least climbed the foothills of the first team, as opposed to merely planting a boot on the pitch for a brief excursion.

Allan has played three times for United in the Scottish Premier League, yet the Tannadice club claim he wants parity with some of the higher earners at the club.
Who then is in the right?

Is the player being greedy or is he entitled to test the market for his own worth?
United feel they have stood by the player through a catalogue of illness and other troubles and that he owes them something in return.

They will tell you David Goodwillie is a case in point.

The striker, now at Blackburn, was also a product of United's youth system and could have refused a new deal and left under freedom of contract.

But he signed on again and allowed United the benefit of a large transfer fee which enables the club to continue funding the development of new talent.

The constant cry is to give youth a chance, but will clubs continue to fund expensive youth systems if, at the first opportunity, the cream of the crop jump ship.

For every youngster who makes the grade, there are countless others who do not.
Clubs take a gamble with youth investment, sometimes it pays sometimes it does not.

Players, clubs and agents need to see the bigger picture in these situations.

We often hear from chairman that they are only the guardians of the club for a period of time.

But in many respects we are all guardians of our clubs.

That should allow for the continuation of the institution into the future.

Clubs need to treat players fairly and with respect, but players too have to give something back for the next generation of youngsters looking for their big chance.


  • Comment number 1.

    Absolutely, but football will have to be careful not to start forcing young players to sign contracts or they'll end with a "Bosman" Mark II. European employment law has turned a blind eye to sport for a while now, but if enough players feel that their right to take the labour where the like is impeded too much, we may end up with a transfer market free for all.

    That said, I'd like to think that Scott Allan will get back around the table and sign a deal that would give Utd a decent transfer fee.

  • Comment number 2.

    History shows that Allan will be lucky to ever make the 'top' grade if he leaves United now. He will take himslf out the environment he has grown up, the environment which gives him the confidence to perform. Look at Wilson to Liverpool! Even Wayne Rooney proved himself at first team level before the big move.

    Unfortunatley football is a strange game where the majority of players allow agents 100% control over their future.

    As I said time and time again history shows that the best players get the best platform at the club they developed at after 2 years in the first team, not 2 weeks. I suspect Allan has just made his life even harder as he won't learn much with the kids from now until next June!

  • Comment number 3.

    "His manager Peter Houston says the youngster, who has come right through the United youth system, has had poor advice from his agent."

    Hearts took exactly the same stance with Andy Webster and were roasted in the media for it.

    I look forward to the same coverage regarding Allan, including condemnation of an OF club (Celtic this time) yet again indirectly tapping him a good young player at another club through the press.

    Jim - any comment on the Brines performance in the Ayr-Hearts game and his apparent blindness over Naismith's elbow in today's game, and the media's differing response to both incidents compared with how they react to similar incidents involving certain other clubs?

  • Comment number 4.

    Rabbity. Andy Webster was a youth product of Arbroath FC, not Hearts. Scott Allans agent is more concerned about his own wage packet than Allans career. If Allan has any desire to have a long prosperous career, he would be wise to replace his greedy inexperienced commission based salesman. Houston is right in what he's saying. Its a case of a boy thinking he's made it. That kind of ego will destroy his career before it begins. Atleast if he does move on we stand to get about £500K compensation for creating him. A tidy profit by anyones standard for a player not yet proven at any competitive level

  • Comment number 5.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 6.

    For football agent, read Rogue Trader (i.e Kia Jorabchian = Nick Leeson - the first of many).
    At least the banking system has the commission seekers in their direct employ and the possibility of supervision – though not the will, seemingly.

  • Comment number 7.

    Good luck to Scott Allan ... he will need it as McCoist,Boyd,Miller and Goodwillie all have been failures in England.Goodwillie looks of the pace and has not scored yet .The others e.g. McCoist only scored 8 times for Sunderland but accumulated 273 for Rangers.

    The problem is the standard of SPL which is really bottom of the Championship 1 / maybe top of Championship 2

    I cannot remember the last decent Scottish forward ..... maybe B McClair

    Perhaps he should stay in Scotland for a season or two for own his development.Many Scots (with proven experience)have failed in England and had to return home where they are more comfortable with a standard

  • Comment number 8.

    Back for more..

    Kris Boyd had some "personal problems" let's hope Scott Allan is not a similar case. I thought he was a midfielder anyway? Why are you talking about strikers? McCoist didn't score many and I would agree he was out of his depth at the club and the formation he was played in. Kenny Miller I thought you were wrong on so I checked. Used facts.. - "Miller still ended the season as top scorer, with 12 goals[27] – the third time in Wolves' last three Championship campaigns. Miller played 191 games for Wolves and scored 63 goals during his five years with the club."

    Goodwillie has hardly played for Blackburn yet. Two games? Three? I believe he scored in the cup. I have a sneaking suspicion the football scouts there are better judges of a player than you. I am nervous however about his potential "personal problems" too.
    Gordon Durie, Kevin Gallacher, Steven Fletcher. Or for actual midfielders; James MacArthur, Kevin McDonald, Barry Robson, Barry Ferguson, Darren Fletcher, Graeme Dorrans, James Morrison, Robert Snodgrass, Charlie Adam, Don Cowie and up and coming Barry Bannan. Do you actually watch football?

    "bottom of championship" what are you basing this opinion on? I will be genuinely surprised if you can say something original, balanced and well supported here. One might estimate based on financial backing that the spl is of a standard with the lower echelons of the championship. But it would be less than an opinion - what is also called.... a guess.

    I for once agree with you that he should stay in Scotland for his own development. As stated elsewhere here, most players go on to have better careers when they are sheltered past tricky stages by clubs they began at. And I have nothing to base a guess that he would succeed in England on. So I won't..

  • Comment number 9.

    It may indeed be the case that Allan has been badly advised by an agent looking for a big payday but there are other factors that need to be considered.

    I think Peter Houston was also ill advised to issue the comments that he did, this is the kind of thing that should be said in private as he's now backed himself and the club into a corner.

    The media also played a part in this by proclaiming this boy as the latest "wonder kid". This kind of publicity does affect young players, some more than others, and does them little good especially when they usually end up cast aside and criticised by the same people who lionised them previously.
    I remember Mark Burchill demanding to be in the first team at Celtic after a few games, to replace Henrik?, come on !!
    Simon Lynch was another youngster whose career never took off as it should and this may have been down to bad advice which caused him to move to Preston and it's all been downhill since then.

    It takes strength of character and good parental advice for a youngster to resist the blandishments of an agent, who is supposed to be looking after the players best interests remember, and bide their time while improving their game.

    I agree that he should learn his trade first but who was it that actually leaked the story, was it the club or was it him?

    As for Celtic tapping him up, Lennon was asked the question at a press conference and said that he was one they would be interested in, that's all. I would imagine any "tapping" if it did occur, was from much futher south.

    One final point, if Dundee Utd. have helped Allan with "problems" both he and his agent can be sure that unless his character passes scrutiny no club will want him.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ally McCoist, who won the European Golden Boot? Away and dribble elsewhere.

    I think we can predict what will happen with Scott Allan. He'll get his move and not be seen much, only to return to Utd (a la O'Connor/Riordan) 6 years down the line, a shadow of the player that he should have been.

  • Comment number 11.

    i would love to see agents in football disbanded. it's a terrible terrible thing for the game. i'd like to see how players would behave if they had to negotiate their own contracts. what happened to the days when it was managers that players went to for advice. players whould only move on when they become too big for the club and have to move to further their career. i wish that was the case anyway. that said if you were a managing director of a business and someone came alondg and offered you more money to serve coffee at their place, you'd go, even if that company had trained you up from a kid.

    what can clubs do to help safeguard their investment in youth.? ? maybe if the SFA are serious about encouraging youth development then agents have to be banned in scotland. either that you have to look to a national acadamy system rather than a club based youth system where the SFA pays for and runs the ship across all youth facilities, but how could that operate or be payed for.??? we have to adapt to the fact we financially cannot romotely compete with england.

  • Comment number 12.

    Here we go again,
    Tomslaford one thing your bang on with, is making me laugh.
    How on earth you can judge a player after 3 games takes the buiscuit.
    I watched goodwillie play 90mins at fulham.
    The last 20mins with a hamstring injury,maybe thats why he looked off the pace.
    The first 70mins he did not look out of place.In fact twice if a teamate played him in instead of shooting,he would have had two 1 on 1,s with the keeper.He has scored for blackburn,in the cup. United stood by him when he had assualt & rape charges against him.They were rewarded when he signed an extension to his contract.Scott Allan is a midfielder who,s had only 225mins of 1st team action.Dundee united have stood by him when he was in jail,had a broken leg and glandular fever.This seems to mean little to him and his advisers, as the greed and pound signs have blinded them.They are entitled to their opinion on what he,s worth but lets get realistic.To ask for more than 3 quarters of what the highest paid player at united gets, is a farce.United have made their best ever offer to a 19yr old.If this is not good enough for him, then he can spend the rest of his time at united, in the boot room or cleaning the stands for all i care.Also let him train with the kids,as we dont need negativity at 1st team sessions.BLKWTCHBOSCH you missed out craig conway,who,s starred for cardiff from your list.

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 Craig,
    You can't ban agents, it would be illegal despite the fact that they are a blight on the modern game.
    Sadly though you couldn't trust managers/clubs to look after the interests of anyone but themselves either.

    #12 Why was Allan in jail ?
    If anything serious that would put off potential buyers.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why is my post blocked?

  • Comment number 15.

    #13 I think allan was in jail for a breach or assault.
    Andy gray(aston villa)Ray stewart(west ham)kevin gallagher(coventry)Ray mckinnon(nottingham forest)Billy mcinlay(blackburn rovers)Richard gough(spurs)Ralph milne(charlton)Duncan ferguson(rangers) are just some of the players who served their apprenticship at united and gave something back.

  • Comment number 16.

    if dundee utd don,t rate Allan let him go , whats all the fuss about?
    they obviously still operate as they did under Jim Mclean by not paying the going rate but value players way above the wages they are on.
    it was clubs treating players like this that saw the need for agents in the game.

  • Comment number 17.

    JH_55. Dont be daft. United do rate him but only want players who have a desire to succeed in the game. He clearly feels hes reached his peak and needs to grab the money now while he can. Why would we let him go when we can get about $500K for the trouble of creating him over the past 9 years. In any profession or walk of life, when you think youve made it, your on a slippery slope down before you know it. Allan needs a reality check and having an agent who is obviously fueling his ego is not a good thing for young easily influenced boy.

  • Comment number 18.

    #16 The so called going rate has put the majority of clubs in the red, including united,fact.
    If Dundee united continued to operate the same way as they did under jim mclean they would be defunct ages ago,fact. For your info, in the late 70,s & 80,s united,s players were on the same wages as OF players when winning games. They won more in those days than lost.So for a club with the resourses we have(5 to 6,000 hard core support)that was incredible.United have to rely on selling a player every now and then to try balance the books.Why should we sell a player below the going rate for his ability, because we cant afford high wages?The club put alot of money into youth developement, so deserve something back when it comes along. The goodwillie money the bank manager kept because of our debt.Scott allan has been with the club since 11 yrs old so of course we rate him.We wont be held to ransom though.

  • Comment number 19.

    # 10 Anyone can score goals in the SPL but outside McCoist was rubbish 8 goals for Sunderland is pitful.But it shows the low standard of the SPL.
    Even Samaras can score in the SPL and he was a joke in the Premier League

    #12 You miss my point I really do think it would eb better for Scott to play a few years in a lower standard (big fish in a very small pool)

    Playing Inverness CT and St Johnstone 4 times a season will allow him to accumulate his goals.

    Playing in the Championship is more defficult than the SPL : Boyd only scored 6 goals in 29 matches for Boro and he was the top Scottish goalscorer. Miller has only scored 1 in 8 for Cardiff City 6 in 33 for Derby County

  • Comment number 20.

    #19 I missed your point?????
    What part of MIDFIELDER dont you get??????
    Your going on about scott allan and the goals he can get???zzzzzz!

  • Comment number 21.


    Allan was remanded after being charged; it's hardly 'being in jail'. It's also telling that the incident involved more senior members of the Dundee United squad. Yes, he ill with Glandular fever - what employer wouldn't stick by an employee who had a three year fixed-term contract during such a time?

    Regarding your comment about his broken leg - how exactly did that broken leg occur, was it possibly whilst at work, perhaps during training?

    Are you seriously suggesting that a player thinks he's at the top of his game when he's demanding £1,600pw? Scott Brown and Kevin Thompson signed contracts for more money than that at Hibs 5 years ago and have since earned contracts well in excess of 10 times that amount.

    I think Allan only wants what he feels he is currently worth; it's not his fault United can't pay that amount. If another club pays that amount then his move is perfectly vindicated on the basis that that is indeed what he is worth.

  • Comment number 22.


    Samaras scored three goals in the SPL last year, with a grand total of seven goals all season. Keep up with the facts. Ally McCoist won the golden boot in the year Rangers were actually of a standard that could compete with anyone. Sadly, times and football have changed. Scottish football can no longer compete financially with any of the top leagues, we'll need to radically change the youth set up before we produce good teams again. However, we've discussed this repeatedly on here, with absolutely no constructive contributions from yourself. Stop comparing the English leagues with ours; we have nowhere near the financial clout that the English have so we're not likely to compete. Comprehend?


    Scott Allan is, of course, "entitled" to seek better paid employment elsewhere. However, if an employer had stuck by me through youth training, prison and injury, I'd be inclined to want to repay that loyalty, either by staying for a while longer and/or signing a deal that would give my employer suitable compensation if I was taken elsewhere.

  • Comment number 23.


    First of all, Scott Allan was not in prison; he was 'lifted' as it were in the early hours of 3rd November and held pending a court appearance on the Monday morning. His charges were dropped.

    Secondly, his injury, to all intents and purposes, was a workplace accident; an industrial injury if you will.

    Regarding compensation - do you not agree that the £450k compensation being discussed is enough? What do you think United should get, and how should that figure tally with the players remuneration? Do you think he should get perhaps £800p/w but United should demand £2m for him, would that be fair, and fair on whom?

  • Comment number 24.

    Tom... "McCoist was rubbish 8 goals for Sunderland is pitful.But it shows the low standard of the SPL."
    No it doesn't. It shows how McCoist, one player, thirty years ago, was not as successfull at a team at the bottom end of a league as he was at a team at the other end. On form. Surrounded by players like Gascoigne Hately and Laudrup. Had he been at a higher end team it is likely he would have scored more but it says little if anything at all about the standard of the spl. And let's not forget that was 30 years ago...
    8 games is hardly a run for Miller. As i said before he was their top scorer 3 seasons and got them promoted. I think that counts as a success story. You had no answer for the succesful midfielders. I also said before Boyd had "personal problems" google it if you know how. That should give you some indication as to why he had little or no form in ONE SEASON. Other players from Scotland proved themselves elsewhere? Larsson? Lambert? Why do no other teams come in for English players anymore. Their 24 world class player squad? Who was the last player to receive a bid? Don't tell me La Liga couldn't afford them.
    Fletcher went from a mid table team to a lower table team. And look how he got on. Closer comparison. More valid fact.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Nobody called Larssen ever played for Scotland or in Scotland. Larsson played in the Scottish league. Was sometimes but not always the top scorer and went to prove himself further in other leagues abroad. My mistake to expect you to grasp that. I needn't resort name calling as you are more than capable of painting yourself in the most accurate light with your next stupendously ignorant post.
    I made 3 references. None of which were 30 years ago. You have wikipedia right there. You don't need to put in writing for us time and time again that you don't know what you are talking about. Go read. If you can.

  • Comment number 27.

    #22 I would take the 450k for him after he,s swept the stairs and cleaned the boots for 8 months.Having been with united for 9 years he knows exactly how our club works.His 225mins of 1st team football aint gonna change that.I could see the point if he had played 20 or so 1st team games and had done very well.Then he,d be within his rights to ask for more money.United went down the road of paying players 4k P/W a few years back.All it got us was more debt.There is not many players left, worth the money they get paid.Hence the amount of empty seats.

  • Comment number 28.

    #25 Once again we dont need an outsider to tell us how good bad or indifferent our league is.If Scott Allan by any chance does progress in the game to the extent he could travel abroad.I would suggest either germany for the atmosphere(biggest crowds in europe ave 40,000-50,000 every week)or spain(easily the best football worldwide).

  • Comment number 29.

    #17 the player clearly feels he,s as good as or better than the players he is competing with for a place in the team , management don,t so blame the agent for bad advice.

  • Comment number 30.


    Can we all agree not to engage with the 'troll'? Repeats the same statements week in week out. Adds nothing to the conversation. Clogs up good blog forums with gibberish.

  • Comment number 31.

    #18 missing my point
    united have a right to demand top dollar for any player but that works both ways.
    if Allan is as good as reports then he deserves to be among the top earners at the club

  • Comment number 32.

    what responsibility should dundee utd take for this situation.?? if they had seen his potential might they not have offered him a few year deal before he got higher aspirations? i hope he signs a deal even if it is only for a year to give his club a chance of transfer fee.

  • Comment number 33.

    Agreed re-troll. And to the earlier poster, yes quite right I forgot Danny Swanson, a fine player too. :)

  • Comment number 34.

    Football clubs are paid compensation on the basis of the average cost of training a young player who goes on to play professionally.
    That does not mean JUST the player who makes it, but the others who fail.

    On that basis, Dundee Utd should recoup its costs.

    I don't understand why people think that money should be made from exploiting youth.

  • Comment number 35.

    19.At 17:07 25th Sep 2011, tomslaford wrote:
    # 10 Anyone can score goals in the SPL but outside McCoist was rubbish 8 goals for Sunderland is pitful.But it shows the low standard of the SPL.
    Even Samaras can score in the SPL and he was a joke in the Premier League

    #12 You miss my point I really do think it would eb better for Scott to play a few years in a lower standard (big fish in a very small pool)

    Playing Inverness CT and St Johnstone 4 times a season will allow him to accumulate his goals.

    Same old rubbish every week from you about Inverness and St Johnstone. Have you had a look at the SPL table, which side beat Celtic away from home, have yet to concede a goal away from home and sit equal 4th in the league? I don't think many teams will score lots against us this season after 5 clean sheets in our first 8 games.

    As someone who watched McCoist play in what was the Scottish first division in the early 80's before he moved to Sunderland what did you expect him to do. His form in Sunderland at such a young age had nothing to do with the SPL which was not even set up until 1999. But as in the past why let facts get in the way of your anti Scottish rants.

    On the topic this kid is obviously motivated by greed. If he is that good United would be playing him week in week out.

    The smaller clubs need the income from transfer fees to pay for youth development but whether this is a long term strategy or whether the fee should also be linked to the players wages is the big issue here.

  • Comment number 36.

    Scott Allan is entitled to ask for whatever wage he thinks he's worth just as the club are entitled to offer what they think he's worth.
    Whether that should be £1600 pw now with a review after he's played a fixed number of first team games is a possibility but only if Utd. can afford it, no point going into debt over potential having just escaped penury by selling Goodwillie.

    I'm sure he could earn more elsewhere, probably England, but doubt he'll play many first team games wherever he goes at this stage in his career so it would appear that money is the motivation.

    Wouldn't be the first and won't be the last.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have to laugh at SAF saying now (tonight on BBC North West) that he thinks TV is ruining the game and then saying he doesn't think clubs get enough money from the same TV deal...given that players would just want a bigger cut of any increase (rather than the extra cash going on lower league and youth development without "clubs") then jsut what is he trying to say?

  • Comment number 38.

    Good luck to you Scott you will need it ! many of the so called superstars (McCoist,Miller,Boyd,Goodwillie, for the past 15 years) of Scottish football flopped when they played in a higher standard.If he wants to go for it ok, but another season would benefit him (but not his bank balance)

    #28 ...Explain outsider ...??? anyone can blog this site can't they. It is not a SNP site !.The Premier League is ranked number 1 bhoy not 16th like the SPL.

    #30 I stick to facts (slighty biased a tad but still facts)

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    #31 JH_55
    I missed your point????? According to reports he should be among uniteds top earners????? What after 225mins?????? Your now on a par with tomslaford at making me laugh. So what your saying is that a 19year old lad who,s had 225 mins at the OF or even a bigger club for that matter should then demand nearly the same wages as the highest earners???????zzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 41.

    #28 Explain outsider???? I,ve just watched a programme tnite about ex-pat BRITISH folks setting up home in france.The programme,s called LITTLE ENGLAND explain that????

  • Comment number 42.

    #38 TOMSLAFORD Seeing you know your facts you obviously agree with what i said in #28 about the german & spanish leagues???? Or did i hit a nerve?????

  • Comment number 43.

    My mistake in #41 it shud have stated #38 instead of #28

  • Comment number 44.

    Why is my #4 post still referred for further Consideration.... Is the person who it was referred to on a 2 week vacation?!

  • Comment number 45.

    You do indeed stick to facts - those made up in your own head: England are the only country to have won the World Cup in Football, Rugby and Cricket; Scotland are ranked 57th; SPL is ranked 16th.

    All brown ploppy stuff derived from the nether regions of a masculine bovine.

  • Comment number 46.

    Id like to ask what part of english football is still english? The club names?


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