England captain Wayne Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, wants Non-League Chesire side Rylands to push on and enter the Football League.
Stretford played for Rylands for ten years from the mid-seventies onwards and four years ago he became involved once again having encountered an old team-mate en route to the chemists for his father. Since that day, Stretford went against all Stats, bets and tips and spent £100,000 on ground improvements at Rylands and his good work won’t be stopping there.
He said: “Does my work as an agent have any longevity? Probably not. With Rylands I can create a legacy.” As an agent, Stretford is best known for his work with Wayne Rooney. Sadly, he is best remembered for prompting Wayne Rooney to ask to leave Manchester United in 2010 only for the England forward to agree to a new five year deal days later, with greatly improved terms.
Stretford is looking to shake off the tag of one of football’s villains by backing the Warrington based club to reach the Football League. Naturally, as there’s a price for everything, Rylands would require seven promotions and would need to spend millions in order to reach the Football League. Although betting tips my be backed strongly against them, Stretford remains optimistic:
“Why not aim for the Football League?” Said Stretford, “There’s no point in setting a target we could achieve tomorrow. It might take 10 years, or 20. It might not happen in my lifetime. But you have to aim for the stars.” An optimistic attitude indeed but Stretford’s work in football as an agent has set him up with a lot of know-how and no doubt the financial muscle to flex in favour of Rylands.
His work as an agent sees him act for Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Simpson amongst others showing Stretford is more at home brokering deals at the top levels instead of Non-League where the glamour is severely lacking – The club have just opened changing rooms adjacent to their Gorsey Lane pitch named after Ron Stretford, Paul’s father and club stalwart.
Next on the agenda will be floodlights for the pitch and Stretford has suggested the club look to one of football’s success stories for inspiration – League One’s Fleetwood Town who Stretford has fond memories of playing against in the 1970s as a Rylands player.
“I played (Non) league games for Rylands against Fleetwood in the 1970s. What they have done shows you nothing is impossible” said Stretford. He also concedes his involvement isn’t strictly speaking philanthropic but he accepts there is “no return” on his investment.
“It stems from a love of football. We have to do what we can to help the grassroots of the game survive. Without that the game is going nowhere”. It is clear Stretford is referring to the likes of Fleetwood Town and Jamie Vardy when he speaks of grassroots and nothing being impossible – it is this attitude that ensures football lives on from the top of the league to the very bottom and many could learn a lesson from Stretford and Rylands.