Gary Hamilton highlights ‘disrespectful’ Larne bids for Glenavon’s Rhys Marshall and fears over role of agents

Glenavon's Rhys Marshall. Pic by INPHO.
Glenavon's Rhys Marshall. Pic by INPHO.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton has voiced concerns over the growing influence of agents involved in Irish League inter-club deals.

The Lurgan Blues recently rejected two bids for Rhys Marshall from newly-promoted Danske Bank Premiership rivals Larne - for figures described by Hamilton as “disrespectful” to his player.

Hamilton is also dismissive of claims Glenavon have placed a £50,000 price tag on the 24-year-old’s head.

“We have rejected two bids, the highest of £20,000, both from Larne and told the club he is not for sale,” claims Hamilton. “As we have no desire to sell Rhys then we would not place a fee on the player.

“We want Rhys to stay at our club of course so it is frustrating to see and hear comments from so many outside areas that can prove disruptive.

“I also do not understand the need for agents to be involved in any deals between Irish League clubs and feel it is dangerous moving forward as adding to the complications.

“Our league is a small world and everyone knows pretty much the value of players or wages, so I do not see the role an agent needs to play as players here can easily handle negotiations.

“I appreciate players looking for an agent to help arrange a move across the water or higher league but not within our own game.”

Hamilton maintains an open dialogue with his players over interest from other clubs and considers that crucial in establishing trust between manager and squad.

Marshall is entering the final 12 months of a contract with the club he has represented since his early teenage years.

“Everyone is aware of the circumstances around Rhys’ contract and he is entitled to talk to clubs from January on and even sign a pre-contract agreement,” said Hamilton. “But over negotiations with Rhys he has told us he is in no rush to decide anything and never said to me he wants to leave the club.

“So this situation remains normal and, from our viewpoint, there is nothing dramatic about the circumstances.

“As his manager, I have kept Rhys informed every step of the way and Larne remain the only club to formally make an offer.

“Lots of clubs have spoken to us over the years about Rhys but that is only natural for a player I consider the best right-back in our league and even Ireland.

“Because of how highly I rate Rhys, I find a £20,000 bid nothing short of disrespectful to the player.

“When I was playing for Portadown years ago another Irish League club put in a bid for me of around £20,000 and I considered that undervaluing me at the time.”