Crazy story out of The Sun today (I know, I know – just stick with it) that alleges Sir Alex Ferguson fixed a Champions League game between Manchester United and Juventus with a football agent who rewarded him with a £30,000 Rolex.
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Football agent Giuseppe “Pino” Pagliara, 64, made the confession to an undercover reporter posing as a businesswoman looking to invest in football.
Pagliara and fellow agent Dax Price tried to “impress” undercover reporter Clare Newell, who had them wrapped round her little finger from the sounds of it, by arranging meetings with former England coach Steve McClaren, ex Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and footballer Kanu.
In the secretly recorded meeting Pagliara also claimed that Sir Alex, who managed United from 1986 to 2013, took money from transfer deals.
This all came out in Southwark Crown Court this week as Pagliara is accused of paying and facilitating a bribe (he denies all charges).
Pagliara apparently claimed that “99% of the people in football if they weren’t in football would be selling second-hand cars”.
Pagliara was said to be “furious” with Redknapp for suggesting the undercover reporter should buy a football club instead of using a loophole to get around a ban on third party ownership of players in England during a meeting in July 2016.
Prosecuting, Brian O’Neill QC described another meeting:
Towards the end of the meeting Pagliara launched into what could only be described as a diatribe of Sir Alex Ferguson, accusing him of having conspired with Pagliara to fix the result of a football match between Juventus, a club which Pagliara was associated with, and Manchester United in the Champions League for which Pagliara had thanked him with a gold 30 grand Rolex watch.
Pagliara went on to accuse Sir Alex Ferguson of having taken money as part of transfer deals. He claimed that he had paid Ferguson before.
To the outside world, the plan being espoused by Mr Pagliara, it would look as though the player in question was owned by the football club in Belgium when actually the player was owned by a third party.
And that, said Pagliara, was the plan that he wanted to end up bringing to England because that’s where the money is.
He went to speak about placing players in Italian clubs where he had various connections before moving them to England.
You have to have an offshore account somewhere and that’s where we do it. For example Antonio Conte [then head coach at Chelsea] has winked at us and said, “yeah, I want that player, is there a little coffee for me Pino?”‘
A little coffee, she said.
Yeah, that’s what he’ll say: yeah of course there is and now I’m negotiating a coffee as well and we are not talking about a double espresso.
He went on to say he would disguise it as a consultancy agreement:
I’ve opened so many Swiss bank accounts for managers that you would not believe.
Reporter Claire Newell, who used Taylor as a fake surname, set up a fake company with her team and told Pagliara and Price that she wanted to invest in football players.
Obviously no way of knowing if this is true at this stage, but would it be the most shocking thing in the world? You might think Sir Alex Ferguson could buy a hundred Rolexes with the salary he was on, but you know what’s better than paying £30,000 for a Rolex? Getting one for free.
One thing’s for sure – undercover reporter Clare Newell played these guys like absolute fiddles if what is being alleged is true. Let’s wait and see how this story develops…
For the time Ashley Cole’s friends used him to steal £110,000 worth of jewellery, including his Rolex, click HERE. Can’t trust anyone eh?