The man with every top player on his books

Wednesday, January 4 – 1978
Each Saturday, an average of 550,000 football fans swarm through the turnstiles of Britain’s soccer stadiums. Millions more watch soccer on the box. They have their heroes and their villains. They are bombarded daily by the rumoured value of their favourite players, yet Money Mail has found out the one place where the true value of every player in the League is filled … in the offices of S.W. Taylor, insurance brokers, of Cheapside, London.

For it is here that the Football League’s own appointed insurance brokers bring their own expertise to one of the most unusual insurance exercises in the country.

Last August Liverpool Football Club paid their Scots rivals Celtic a reputed £440,000 for top player Kennedy Dalglish to replace Hamburg-bound hero Kevin Keegan. At the stroke of a pen Dalglish became the most expensive transfer in British club history.

To club chairman John Smith and his fellow directors Dalglish is also a hefty investment, provided he plays. Injured on the touchline, at worst out of the game altogether, he becomes a loss of shipping proportions.

If you add insurance against legal liability damage to premises, loss of equipment, and cancellation of fixtures, soccer insurance all together exceeds £50 million a year, and that mainly in the hands of a unique brokerage deal between the Football League and a firm of London insurance brokers.

From this modest office, through which some of the most famous names in modern soccer have trooped, sprightly 50-year-old Stan Taylor, explained exclusively to Money Mail how the special Football League personal accident insurance scheme works:
“The value of the average young First Division player,” Mr. Taylor explained, “is £100,000 to his club. This is fixed by what the club would expect to get for him, either in cash or through a player exchange, on the transfer market.
“Though the clubs make their own arrangements to compensate the injured players, they need to insure players, they need to insure against financial loss to themselves.
“This is why the Football League scheme has been worked out,” Mr. Taylor continued.

“Today’s professional soccer player is like a highly tuned racehorse. He is under continuous pressure, he has abnormal strains placed on his muscles, cartilages, tendons and joints, and always runs the risk of additional injury or bone breakage through body contact.
“It sounds callous, but he also wears out.”

Taylor’s scheme, which covers all League clubs, is a model I its simplicity. It is a contract between Mr. Taylor’s firm and the Football League and the club. Each player is named on a specific proposal form and a value put on him, agreed by the underwriters.

Details of injuries sustained to date and the results of a special medical examination relating to soccer “wear and tear” are entered by the club doctor. Up to the first £35,000, the sum assured is with the Football League: above that, and this includes all star players, with S.W. Taylor.

Ex-Crystal Palace director Stan Taylor’s reputation is so good that the clubs trust him with the only “true” record of what their players are worth. What, though, do they get from the personal accident insurance policy?
First, 24-hour cover against injuries, on or off the field, which prevent a player playing, even if the injury had nothing to do with football – such as a car crash. This gives a flat rate payment of £35 a week for any insured player.

In the nightmare event of the player having to leave League soccer altogether, the club will be paid up to the full value of the policy. The cost to the club? £11 for each £1,000 accident insurance on the player.

To be fully insured, even to transfer value, under the scheme Kenny Dalglish would cost the pride of Merseyside a cool £4,840 a year – £93 a week. It is more than likely he is covered for an even higher sum.
Daily Mail, 04-01-1978)

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