Rooney: Ferguson limits my sponsors

Striker reveals United manager's control over players as he fights £4.3m court case

Wayne Rooney yesterday revealed that he is limited to five sponsorship deals by his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, whose tight control over players' off-field commitments would clearly not have run to tolerating John Terry's free rein at Chelsea.

Rooney disclosed the limitations to his off-field work in the course of appearing in court to fight a £4.3m lawsuit brought by his former agents Proactive, following the Manchester United striker's decision to remove his work from them when his representative, Paul Stretford, was dismissed by the company in 2008 for gross misconduct. This followed a blackmail trial at Warrington Crown Court which collapsed after Stretford was said to have given "false and misleading" evidence.

Rooney's number of sponsorship deals, from which Stretford has continued to take 20 per cent despite the deals having been negotiated under the aegis of Proactive, was "based on what my manager tells me," Rooney told Manchester Mercantile Court, where the company, now owned by the Formation Group, is pursuing its claim against the 24-year-old.

The responsibilities of fatherhood have contributed to Rooney not even using up his quota, he said, with no plans to add to the four deals he has struck with Nike, Coca Cola, EA Sports and Tiger beer. "To be honest, I'm probably doing the max," Rooney said. "My wife has just had a baby. I need time to spend with them and I need time with my family as well. It could change but not at the minute."

Stretford, banned by the FA from representing players for nine months last May in the light of the blackmail trial, suggested in his testimony yesterday that Ferguson had had his fingers burnt in allowing United players freedom to maximise their off-field revenues. "Sir Alex Ferguson is known for his attention to detail," Stretford said. "That doesn't just go for training etc. He believes the priority of any player should be his football. I'm not naming any names but I think he has experience where commercial opportunities have got out of control."

Despite the strictures imposed by Ferguson, the case has provided a detailed sense of the vast sums earned by Rooney and his wife, Coleen – and thus Stretford, who takes a fifth as part of a working relationship in which the agent also helps to organise "my everyday life," as Rooney described it yesterday. "There's obviously a lot of stuff to be done and we needed someone to do it," Rooney said.

It was put to Rooney that the idea of a new sole trader in the football agent business – Stretford – claiming 20 per cent commission on a player's off-field income was unheard of. But Rooney, who wrote a character statement for Stretford at his FA tribunal hearing last year, insisted that Proactive had no right to claim money from him when Stretford had gone.

"I thought I could give 31 days' notice and leave Proactive," Rooney said. "The other team-mates I had at Everton [when the initial Proactive contract was signed] had that in their agreements – or they told me they did. I wanted Mr Stretford to look after me and I don't think Proactive could have provided the service for me. No one from Proactive called me to say, 'We will provide the services for you now that Paul Stretford has gone'."

It was put to Rooney that solicitors engaged by Stretford had forbidden Proactive from contacting Rooney and his wife. Rooney acknowledged the fact. "But before Mr Stretford got sacked from the company no one explained that he was going to be sacked [so we could prepare]," he added.

Rooney dealt with his testimony quietly and unfalteringly, though his mother, Jeanette, was clearly more indignant about her cross-examination. The court heard that Coleen Rooney would not be appearing, despite expectations that she would.

Proactive is seeking past and future commissions totalling more than £4m from Rooney and damages for a breach of contract. Court papers filed just over a year ago showed that on top of his then £90,000-a-week club salary, Rooney was also earning £1m a year from Nike, more than £200,000 a year from the computer games firm EA and £600,000 from a four-year deal with Coca-Cola.

Coleen Rooney's non-appearance means she will not be discussing details of her income from endorsements of perfume and make-up, plus magazine columns and her TV series Real Women. The hearing continues.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines