The Monday Profile: Kieran Agard
Browsing through the BBC Sport pages, you quickly learn that there really have been a lot of comings and goings this summer. Some, like Aguero and Nasri, attract worldwide media attention. Others, such as those who join clubs in League 1 or 2, get a few words and a picture, if they are lucky.
It is rare that a transfer from the second bracket joins the media frenzy, especially at little old Yeovil. But that is exactly what happened this summer as former Everton reserve striker Agard joined the Glovers.
Agard wasn’t joining for a multi-million pound fee or breaking any sort of record, but was the man who can claim to be the subject of the country’s – maybe even the world’s – first ever Twansfer. (I coined that word. No, seriously, I did. See here.)
Social networking and football seem to go hand-in-hand now. The image of Joey Barton and Robbie Savage skipping into the distance is a beautiful one, but among the Rios, Rooneys and Ronaldos is Yeovil Town manager Terry Skiverton.
A Yeovil legend having represented the club as a player for a decade and as boss for two and a half seasons, Skivo asked his thousands of followers to do a bit of scouting for him and he got an almighty response, with suggestions ranging from previous loanees who had impressed at Huish Park to players released by local rivals and youngsters who had failed to make the grade at Premier League clubs.
Agard was just that, a former Everton reserve team player of the year, but who had failed to make it into the first team squad; an attack-minded player who gets at defenders and scores goals. Despite having featured on Skiverton’s radar previously, it was following the tweeted recommendations that the chase intensified, and in late June the striker signed a one-year deal. The BBC, Sky Sports and bloggers galore picked up on this novel transaction, sparking a debate on the positive use of social networks and the entrance of the word into the football lexicon.
It could be easy to forget among this hullabaloo that this is a serious footballing transfer. Agard had struggled to make David Moyes’ first XI and had suffered uneventful spells on loan at Peterborough and in the SPL with Kilmarnock. But impressive pre-season performances against both Bristol City and Cardiff earned him a move to Somerset, where his electric pace has already caused problems for League 1 defenders, earning a penalty against Oldham in the Glovers’ only victory so far this term. A slight injury has prevented him from getting a run of games, but when that does happen, Yeovil’s more experienced strikers could prove the perfect foil – former Pilgrims Rory Fallon and Steve MacLean should both complement Agard’s game.
This is more than just a publicity stunt. Yeovil have a history taking young players from clubs higher up and helping them to develop. Asmir Begovic, Andros Townsend and Steven Caulker have all passed through Huish Park and gone on to make an impact at Premier League level. Those three were all loanees, but Agard and fellow permanent signing, former Arsenal youth defender Luke Ayling, show signs of having similar potential. If the idea is to take unpolished gems from Premier League sides and turn them into a force in League 1 – and (whisper it) maybe beyond – I’m more than alright with that.
I doubt the contract dealings were done in fewer than 140 characters, but the deal certainly kept #ytfc fans busy during the usually quiet summer months. Agard is a Yeovil player now and is out to get back into the big time. Hopefully, he’ll take the club with him.