Sunderland football agent’s case over £1m deal is scrapped by prosecutors

Sunderland football agent Tony McGill says the case has cost him 'mega bucks'.
Sunderland football agent Tony McGill says the case has cost him 'mega bucks'.
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Senior football figures, including former England coach Sammy Lee, have been cleared of all charges in a case brought by a Sunderland-based over a £1m Premier League transfer deal.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence against Bolton Wanderers FC, their chairman Phil Gartside and others from the club, as well as top agent Jerome Anderson and others from his SEM firm, and retired midfielder Gavin McCann - formerly of Sunderland.

Former England coach Sammy Lee was one of those who had no evidence offered against them, and were cleared of all charges.

Former England coach Sammy Lee was one of those who had no evidence offered against them, and were cleared of all charges.

Wearside-based agent Tony McGill, 56, started a private prosecution against the parties following a legal battle over his claims he was cut out of McCann’s transfer from Aston Villa to Bolton in 2007.

The CPS took over the case, but at a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court today, the prosecution formally offered no evidence.

As a technicality, all the charges were read out to the parties from Bolton, SEM and Mr McCann, and “not guilty” pleas were entered to all.

After hearing the CPS was not offering any evidence, Judge Tim Gittins told the defendants: “That brings the matter to an end.”

The issue of costs for all sides has yet to be decided.

Mr Lee, currently a coach at Southampton, was Bolton manager at the time of McCann’s 2007 move.

He was cleared of conspiracy to defraud Mr McGill in relation to the transfer, and two counts of perverting the course of justice relating to a civil claim in the High Court which followed.

Mr McCann, in an open-necked white shirt, was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, two counts of cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Gartside was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Frank McParland, who worked for Bolton Wanderers and is now sporting director at Championship rivals Burnley, was cleared of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Simon Marland, Bolton Wanderers secretary, was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, false accounting, cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

The football club itself was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, false accounting and cheating the public revenue.

The SEM agency was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, two counts of false accounting and two counts of cheating the public revenue.

SEM head and super agent Jerome Anderson was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, cheating the public revenue and perverting the course of justice.

Agent Jeffrey Weston was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, two counts of false accounting, two counts of cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Agent David Sheron was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Agent Stephen Horner was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

After the hearing Mr McGill, who still works as a football agent, said he was “very disappointed”, and said the case had cost “mega bucks”.

He could not afford to challenge the CPS’s decision with a judicial review, he said.

But he said he has been given leave to appeal against the ruling in the initial civil claim at the High Court, which he lost.

He said: “It’s not just the money, it’s the hassle I’ve had for the last eight years.

“Obviously this has given me a headache and cost a lot of money.

“I don’t have the money for a judicial review.

“The whole thing has been mega bucks since I started, but ‘que sera, sera’.”