Rooney defends agent in £4.3m legal battle
MANCHESTER United striker Wayne Rooney played a starring role yesterday in the defence of his agent. The England star was battling a £4.3m (€5m) legal suit.
Rooney (24) insisted that Paul Stretford, who was previously convicted of misconduct charges and banned by the Football Association from working as an agent, was the man he wanted to lead negotiations with Manchester United over his new contract.
Mr Stretford also acts as an agent for Rooney's wife, Coleen.
The England star appeared at Manchester Mercantile Court. He, his wife and two of their companies are being sued by Mr Stretford's former company, Proactive. The dispute over contracts came about after Mr Stretford had left Proactive in 2008.
He set up his own firm and Wayne Rooney, who had been signed up by Mr Stretford when he was a 17-year-old at Everton, verbally agreed to carry his contracts over to the new firm.
Proactive is claiming that the contract Mr Stretford signed with the Rooneys while he was in its employ means that it is entitled to further commission payments amounting to £4.3m.
Yesterday in court, Rooney was asked by Ian Mill, for Proactive, to recall that his agent had been investigated by the FA in 2008 and found guilty of misconduct charges.
"Doubtless he maintained his innocence?" Mr Mill asked.
"Of course," replied Rooney.
"Of course because you trusted him?" asked Mr Mill.
"Yes," he replied.
Rooney said that after Mr Stretford had left the company, "Nobody from Proactive called me to say, 'We can provide the services for you'."
He said: "Nobody explained he was going to be sacked and that they could still do things for me."
The court heard that as well as sponsorship deals, Mr Stretford provided the Rooneys with "round-the-clock assistance".
The case resumes on Monday.