FOOTBALL agents often receive a bad rap.

When clubs spend hundreds of thousands on their fees, fans are left scratching their hands to why this investment needs to be made.

In fact, back when Bradford City was in League One, they spent over £150,000 in the year of 2018.

Skipton-born agent Tom Palmer is here to dispel the myth and explain how important the role his profession plays in helping a young footballer make the right choices in his career.

He said: "Coaches will suggest to younger players not to get an agent until they turn pro. I hear a lot from my academy contacts that agents often turn a young players head at times to financially gain for themselves.

"But if you get the right agent/agency that puts the players development and well-being at the forefront of everything they do then they can be invaluable to that player.

"Ultimately, it’s down to the player to make sure they are performing week in week out so that it makes any future negotiations much easier."

Palmer works for The Sports Agents Ltd and his day-to-day jobs include scouting, regularly communicating with his clients, and negotiating transfers, contracts and commercial opportunities for them.

"This role should not be about me and my ego like a lot of agents portray, it’s all about the players mental and personal wellbeing," he said.

"Wellbeing in the game today is probably bigger now than it has ever been with players under so much scrutiny all of the time.

"I am are there to make sure my players have nothing to worry about off the field, and all the potential distractions football and life can throw at them from such a young age are dealt with so they only have to worry about giving 100% in games and training.

"It’s paramount to us that we build really strong relationships with our players, their respective clubs and their families, we want to be with them for their entire career, not just a couple of years."

One player who recently joined Palmer's clientele is Bradford City youngster Tyler French.

The 21-year-old arrived at Valley Parade last year and was sent out on loan to then National League side AFC Fylde in February.

Upon his return in the summer, the defender has impressed, making six appearances under Stuart McCall this term.

French's agent believes he has what it takes to go on and become a Bantams great.

Palmer said: "Tyler is one player that shows anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

"He’s had a very good start to the season playing mostly at right wing back, but can also play as a centre back.

"He’s listened to our advice, he’s got his head down and worked hard to prove to Stuart McCall that he deserves the opportunity to be in the starting XI.

"Tyler joined us at the beginning of the pandemic, so it’s been great to work closely with him and we hope he’ll be around at Bradford for a long time."

So how did the Cowling resident, who has scouted for the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach and Watford in the past, even join this line of work?

Palmer added: "I never imagined becoming a football agent at first. I did think I could go into coaching and follow on from my dad, but after doing a number of sessions I knew the coaching side of the game wasn’t for me.

"Doing research and connecting with agents at the time and hearing about the journey they had taken was something that sparked a real interest in my mind.

"I decided to take the plunge and have worked really hard to get to where I am but as I’m always reminding myself this role is a long term commitment and it takes time."

Coronavirus has hit football hard, but Palmer feels the one silver lining that may come out of this period for the game's lower levels could be the extra reliance on bringing youngsters through instead of splashing big on transfers.

"Covid-19 has made a huge impact on the game as a whole, everything is resetting," he said.

"Recruitment strategies are changing because of Covid and the salary cap, I think there will be a real emphasis on the development of young players.

"The masses of money that we have all been accustomed to in football for the last 10 years simply isn’t there.

"This is where we have to draw on all our collective experience across the agency and be creative with the deals we are trying to secure for our players.

"We, as agents, also need to look at ourselves and look at how we can be more flexible and adapt to the changing market."