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?
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
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

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment