TRIBUTES have poured in for iconic football agent Eric Hall following his death, aged 73.
The flamboyant former singer and music publicist represented some of the biggest names in the early years of the Premier League.
In his heyday, Hall represented the likes of Dennis Wise, Tim Sherwood, Paul Walsh and Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock.
Hall had recently been working as a radio presenter up until his death.
Sir Alan Sugar led tributes on Monday, saying: “Football agent Eric Hall has passed away. He was a real character RIP.”
“My thoughts are with the family, a monster RIP to Eric.”
Earning his stripes in the world of music, Hall got his break in football after a chance meeting with ex-Spurs star Steve Perryman.
Hall has always claimed football is of little interest to him – merely seeing it as a business.
The first transfer Hall ever negotiated was Walsh’s move from Luton to Liverpool.
He also claims to be the first agent ever to have goal and appearance bonuses written into players’ contracts and secured Gary Lineker’s first-ever boot deal.
Hall famously once had a goal bonus written into Dave Beasant’s contract at Newcastle, not realising he was a goalkeeper.
Earlier this year, Hall recalled the story to The Telegraph, saying: “I did everything: the contracts, the transfers, the TV appearances, the sponsorships, the lot.
“I was the first agent to bring in bonuses and the funniest deal I ever did was when I was looking after Dennis Wise and John Fashanu at Wimbledon…
“I got a call from a guy called Dave Beasant, who I knew was a player but I didn’t know much about him.
“He told me he was moving from Wimbledon to Newcastle and asked if I could do the deal, so I said I would and I travelled up to meet the club.
“I’m giving it all my shtick – ‘This player’s great and I want bonuses of £9,000 a goal and after 10 goals an extra £100,000.’
“Newcastle said, ‘Our pleasure, Eric.’ I came out of the meeting and Dave said: ‘Eric, do you know what position I play? Goalkeeper.’ ”
In 1997, Hall was forced to take six months off after falling seriously ill.
He was diagnosed with septicaemia (blood poisoning which triggers sepsis) after contracting E.coli.
In a sometimes controversial career, Hall was infamously axed by John Fashanu after a bitter fall-out over the then-Wimbledon star’s brother, Justin, and his decision to become the first footballer to come out as homosexual.
Hall got Justin an interview with a newspaper to tell his story, with John wanting it scrapped – to which the agent refused.
Hall was also blacklisted by Tottenham chief Alan Sugar due to his affiliation with Terry Venables – who took Spurs to court over his 1993 sacking, months before he took over as England boss.
He also operated without an agent’s licence for years until he was simply given one – for free – by then-FA chief Graham Kelly.
At the time, the licence fee was £30,000.
As the man himself said, Hall brought the ‘showbiz’ to football agency – and paved the way for super-agents such as Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes.
Earlier this year, he joked: “Good luck to the agents now. Whatever money they earn, they should earn more.
“But there wouldn’t be any of the super agents now if it wasn’t for me.
“I brought the showbiz into it. I was the guv’nor.”