Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 15:02 UK

Footballer tackles player rip-offs

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor has been unimpressed with some firms he has dealt with

A professional footballer is launching a website aimed at helping fellow players avoid being ripped off or getting bad service.

Middlesbrough defender Andrew Taylor came up with the idea after being dissatisfied with a company that installed an audio system in his home.

Platinum Players will feature companies that offer "luxury lifestyle products" - from cars and gadgets to hotels and restaurants - which have been vetted and deemed "trustworthy" for the stars.

There are also jewellers, financial advisers and lawyers - most of whom have been used by the left-back, or recommended to him by other players.

The UK's 4,000 professional footballers will be sent log-in details for the invitation-only site.

Lawyers listed

Mr Taylor, 23, has funded the project from his own wages, and will earn income from listing fees and advertising charges paid by the companies it features.

There are car dealers, for example, who see footballers as a way to make easy money
Andrew Taylor, Middlesbrough footballer

Car dealerships, a hotel in Mayfair, property companies and an interior design firm are among those who have already signed up for the site, which launches on 1 September.

Other high-profile names include the restaurant group Nobu, upmarket retailer Harvey Nichols, Movida nightclub and the car marques Alfa-Romeo and Bentley.

Vulnerable

Mr Taylor, who says he has always had an interest in business, was inspired after having a bad experience when he randomly chose a firm to do work in his house.

"I had no idea who to call so I basically Googled a local company. When they found out I was a footballer, every option they offered me was the most expensive one," he said.

Poor after-sales service meant attempts to rectify problems with the work hit a brick wall, he added.

Platinum players screengrab
Hefty footballer salaries have helped attract some upmarket brands

And after speaking to his teammates, he realised he was not alone in feeling he was being taken advantage of.

"There are car dealers, for example, who see footballers as a way to make easy money. They'll think: 'He's a young lad with plenty of cash, he won't miss £5,000, let's do him over.'

"This site has people who won't rip you off and that's something nobody else is doing for footballers, as far as I know.

"The idea is not to make money but simply to help players find prestigious brands and companies that are trustworthy," the former England Under-21 player added.

He said the site would be particularly useful for foreign players, who did not know how to find the services they needed on arrival in the UK. They were particularly vulnerable to being overcharged by handymen doing work on property, he added, saying that while football clubs did help new signings settle in, the assistance only went "so far".

The idea of media specifically targeting footballers and their families is not new.

In 2005, former Liverpool, Tottenham and England star Jamie Redknapp launched a bi-monthly magazine with his wife, Louise, and former team-mate Tim Sherwood, called Icon.

Companies will pay a premium to advertise to footballers - some of whom earn well in excess of £100,000 per week.



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