John Terry has sought to distance himself from the toe-curling mass email touting him for commercial deals that was revealed by The Independent yesterday. However, it is understood that the England captain signed a representation deal with the company which sent it.
Terry did not deny yesterday that he had an agreement in place with Riviera Entertainment, the Enfield-based marketing company which circulated a crass speculative email this week inviting commercial deals on his behalf. Instead, the Chelsea captain released a hard-hitting statement claiming that neither he nor his advisers had "authorised" the email itself.
However, on Riviera's website Terry is quoted as describing the company as his "ideal partner" in negotiating commercial deals. Terry is quoted as saying: "There are certain commercial areas which I would be proud to be associated with. Elite [his new management company] are in control of my marketing and promotional rights and they have identified Riviera as an ideal partner to help secure the right deals for me going forward."
There has been widespread disbelief in football that a player of Terry's stature could put himself in a position where he was seen to be touting himself for commercial deals so publicly. His predecessor as England captain, David Beckham, was no stranger to endorsement deals but his business deals were never done in such a blatant manner.
The Independent tried to contact Steve Parks and Russell Edwards, the two men behind Riviera Entertainment, yesterday. Parks did not return calls. Edwards would not comment on the story or whether or not Terry had authorised the email. Curiously Edwards is a former non-league footballer who once played alongside Terry's friend and current adviser Paul Nicholls at Chelmsford City.
The public nature of the email – which asked among other things "why not let the nation's football captain help get your message across?" – has caused embarrassment for the Chelsea captain. It was sent to a host of football agencies who have no connection with Terry himself as well as the Football Association. It has become something of a joke among the English football fraternity.
In response to the disclosure of the email, Terry released a statement to the Press Association yesterday that read: "An email inviting commercial endorsements for me has been published. This email was sent without my authority or knowledge and was not approved by me (or those advising me). I have nothing further to say on the matter."
While no-one at Riviera Entertainment was prepared to comment yesterday, the company's website still proclaimed that it represented Terry "for his commercial endorsements". When Terry split from his long-standing agent, Aaron Lincoln, in the summer he handed responsibilities over to Nicholls, a friend of his from his days as a Chelsea trainee.
Nicholls set up the company Elite Management in order to manage Terry's affairs. In another press release on Riviera's official website, Edwards says: "John Terry has a great deal to offer the commercial world and we already have companies on our books that are interested in being linked with such a high-profile brand ambassador. With the World Cup just under nine months away we're expecting a busy winter."