A trial which has exposed the astonishing scramble for a slice of the revenue generated by the England prodigy Wayne Rooney took another twist yesterday when full details emerged of how the football legend Kenny Dalglish allegedly invited a "notorious gangster" to help conclude a deal.
Mr Dalglish, one of Liverpool's finest former players, asked a London criminal, Tommy Adams, to help the football agent Paul Stretford deal with demands for a share of profits from Rooney's former agent, Peter McIntosh and associates.
But Mr Stretford felt "let down" by Mr Dalglish's offer, according to submissions at Warrington Crown Court yesterday - where John Hyland, 42, a McIntosh associate and boxing promoter, and the brothers Christopher and Anthony Bacon, are accused of blackmailing Mr Stretford by demanding money with menaces. Lord Carlile, who is defending Mr Hyland, suggested to Mr Stretford: "You felt let down by him because he arranged to bring to the meeting a notorious gangster who had recently finished a sentence of seven and a half years imprisonment for importing cannabis and who takes an interest in sport."
Lord Carlile told the jury that Mr Dalglish had been asked by police to provide a statement about the meeting, but had refused. He asked Mr Stretford, founder the successful Proactive sports agency: "Do you feel let down by him?"
Mr Stretford said: "Of course. I have had a great and long relationship with Kenny Dalglish and yes, I felt let down by him."
The meeting, in November 2002 at a hotel near Heathrow airport, was attended by Mr Stretford, Mr McIntosh and associates, including Mr Hyland, Mr Dalglish (a major Proactive shareholder) and Mr Adams. It became heated as Mr Hyland and others became angry that Mr Stretford would not agree to a deal on their terms.
The jury also watched a video yesterday of the moment Mr Stretford was confronted by Mr Hyland at another meeting, at the Daresbury hotel in Cheshire last June - the events of which are the focus of the trial.
Mr Stretford was explaining to Peter Lockwood, another McIntosh associate, why he could not sign over half of Rooney's earnings for 10 years when Mr Hyland stormed in, flanked by Christopher and Anthony Bacon. Mr Hyland then shouted: "I've given you manners [but] you've shown me no respect."
Mr Stretford got to his feet, but Mr Hyland shouted: "Don't start showing me your bollocks. Don't you tell me what to do, you bollocks. You put pen to paper now. I've had enough of you, you little prick. You're a bully when you want to be a bully. Don't start on me now. Sort this deal out now. I want this done today. That's the last time you see me, Paul. Sign that paper."
The film showed Anthony Bacon, 34, standing to the right of Mr Stretford, who was sitting at a table, while Mr Hyland shouted into his face and banged the table with his fist. Christopher Bacon, 38, was also seen to lean into Mr Stretford's face and say: "I'm the muscle."
The three men left after two minutes, leaving Mr Stretford visibly shaken. "I'm absolutely shaking here now. That's as close as anyone has ever come to saying 'I'm going to take you out'," he said.
But before Mr Hyland's arrival, he did not disguise his delight in signing up Rooney from Mr McIntosh. The men met on the evening after England had beaten Serbia and Montenegro 2-1 in a friendly in which Rooney had played. "He looked like he was a little tired," Mr Lockwood said. "He's only a baby," Mr Stretford replied.
By contrast, Mr Lockwood discussed the relatively paltry earnings to be gained from his other players, such as Jason McAteer and Phil Babb (both former Liverpool players who were with Sunderland at the time), down to Phil Baker and Alan Griffiths (sold by Tranmere Rovers to Exeter and Chester respectively). "I don't have a lot of quality out of contract," Mr Lockwood told Mr Stretford.
Mr Lockwood bemoaned his bad fortune at Sunderland's lack of money and how the club had refused to pay for damage McAteer had done to his Aston Martin car, which he drove into a crash barrier at the club.
Mr Hyland and the Bacon brothers deny blackmail by demanding money with menaces.
The trial continues today.Reuse content