Hull KR halfback Ryan Brierley and his former Leigh team-mate Cory Paterson have started a new player management company after securing their FA agent licences.
The pair announced the move last week by securing the signature of highly-rated young Manchester City and England under-19s women’s striker Jess Park.
Brierley will continue his playing career with Hull KR, while Paterson will combine the move with running a coffee shop that played an integral part in the deal with 18-year-old Park.
The Jacora shop in Astley is regularly visited by Manchester City Women’s players, including England captain Steph Houghton.
Brierley explained: “Jess was brought to our attention by Steph and the first thing she said was how good a person Jess is.
“When we did a bit more research on her it was obvious how unbelievably talented she is – she’s destined for big things.
“But the most impressive thing was how well mannered she is.
“She’d spoken to other agents before, but I think the fact we came in tracksuits and baseball caps instead of suits, and could both relate to being a professional sportsperson appealed to her.”
Brierley had been considering the move throughout a two year Masters in Sports Business Management that he has now completed.
He said: “I wanted to do something a bit different and felt that I’d gained enough experience and knowledge in my own career that I could pass that onto others.
“In the last two years I went through a tough time in my career and took on a lot of my own work speaking to solicitors, the players’ union and the governing body.
“It wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed learning about what goes on behind closed doors.
“I was looking to set a company up and Cory’s son Jax is in the Liverpool Academy, so it was something he was interested in too.
“He was good friends with some of the big names in women’s football and it’s been huge for us to pick their brains.
“Both Cory and I see it more as managing people than being an agent, taking some of the burden off their shoulders and protecting them.
“We feel like there is a niche in the market for a company that looks to deal with good people first and foremost.
“Sport is probably going to be decreasing in money across the board after this year, and we think it’s more important to look at managing good people rather than just trying to take cuts here and there.
“I’ll continue to play, whereas as Cory has a lot more time at his disposal now that he’s got his coffee shop up and running with staff.”
Brierley also revealed that Park’s decision to join the pair was help by the fact that she is a lifelong Hull KR supporter.
Brierley added: “She joked that she might not have joined if I was a Black and White.
“We’re privileged and humbled that she’s decided to go on a journey with us.”