The name Pino Pagliara wasn’t well known to English football fans a week ago, but quite a few have heard of him since.
He’s the Italian involved in The Telegraph’s sting operation against wrongdoing in football. However, Pagliara himself has a very shaky record, perhaps as shaky as they come, and was banned for five years in Italy for being involved in match-fixing.
That’s not the only allegation to have been thrown at Pagliara over his career, and back in 2002 he tried to get extra money out of a Tottenham Hotspur transfer deal.
When Robbie Keane signed for Spurs in 2002, Pagliara had absolutely nothing to do with the deal. Despite that, according to then Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale, Pagliara tried to make himself £300k richer.
In 2007, Ridsdale told the English media:
“He asked me if it were true we were going to sell Robbie Keane to Spurs for £7m and I confirmed we hoped to finalise the deal in 24 hours.
“That’s when Pino asked if I’d be willing for him to submit an invoice for ‘agent services’.
“I asked ‘Why would you submit an invoice? The negotiations were nothing to do with you!
“Pino said ‘But Peter, if I bill you for £600,000, we split the commission 50-50. You’re the chairman, no one needs to know I wasn’t involved.
“I said ‘Pino, wrong man. I’ve never taken a bung and I’m now going to report this to my board’.”
Since The Telegraph have started publishing their articles, Pagliara has said most of what he said was lies made trying to impress businessmen. Whilst that’s completely believable, given it’s Pagliara, the story has now grown so much that his retraction probably doesn’t matter.