Former Newcastle striker wins court battle

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The Independent Online

Former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins today won a High Court battle with his former management company which sued him for £300,000.

Judge Richard Seymour QC, dismissing all the claims, said Nigerian Mr Martins, who spent his childhood in poverty, had been "dazzled" by promises of glittering business links with rap star P. Diddy.

This had led the "unsophisticated" footballer to sign a contract with NVA Management Ltd agreeing to hand over a percentage of his earnings from sponsorship deals.

But the judge ruled the contract was unenforceable and he was not satisfied that Mr Martins ever agreed to pay NVA a commission of 20% on the deals.

He said he was "very unimpressed" by Chris Nathaniel, sole director of NVA, who as a witness "was quite prepared to say whatever he thought suited" his case.

Mr Nathaniel had alleged that Mr Martins needed a manager to run his life after always being broke on his £75,000 a week salary.

The judge said advice given by NVA was not asked for by Mr Martins and the company had not arranged the footballer's sponsorship deals with Nigerian companies and Pepsi and Nike.

The footballer had paid NVA at least £286,642 under their agreement and this was "more than generous recompense for whatever of value NVA actually did for Mr Martins", said the judge.

After Newcastle were relegated from the Premiership to the Championship, Mr Martins was sold to German Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg in July for £9 million.