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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Rooney agent defends profession
Paul Stretford, Wayne Rooney, Coleen McLoughlin and Sir Alex Ferguson
Paul Stretford (back left) of the Proactive Sports Group
Soccer agent Paul Stretford was forced to defend the ethics of his profession at a trial of three men accused of trying to blackmail him.

John Hyland, 42, Christopher Bacon, 34 and Anthony Bacon, 38, deny blackmail by demanding money with menaces.

They are alleged to have tried to intimidate him into sharing the money he will make by representing Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

Mr Stretford, was cross-examined at Warrington Crown Court on Friday.

The court had previously heard that Mr Hyland and the Bacon brothers, had tried to force Mr Stretford into signing a contract paying out half Rooney's earnings for the next 10 years.

On Friday, Mr Hyland's barrister Lord Carlile QC asked Mr Stretford whether he had received an arrangement fee from Manchester United for the transfer of Wayne Rooney.

John Hyland
Hyland and his co-defendants deny blackmail
When Mr Stretford said he had received the fee, Lord Carlile said: "But Manchester United is not your client, Wayne Rooney is your client. What is that if it is not a conflict of interest?"

Mr Stretford replied: "I don't see it as a conflict of interest. It's the normal course of the business."

Lord Carlile said: "You know perfectly well that if this sort of arrangement, making money from two clients, happened in any other business, subject to guidelines it would be unacceptable."

Mr Stretford replied: "I can't speak for other businesses but it's the normal business structure in our industry."

The jury also heard details of a meeting, arranged by football legend Kenny Dalglish, which was attended by the convicted criminal Tommy Adams, described in court as a "notorious gangster".

'Fear and confusion'

Mr Stretford told police that Kenny Dalglish had told him to go to a meeting in London on 13 November, 2002, after associates of Rooney's first agent had begun demanding a share of Stretford's profits from the striker.

Mr Dalglish was a long-term friend of Mr Stretford and a Proactive shareholder.

Mr Stretford claimed he had no idea that Tommy Adams would be attending the meeting.

Mr Stretford told the jury that "fear and confusion" prevented him from leaving the meeting when he saw who was present.

The case continues.

Agent 'feared he would be killed'
07 Oct 04  |  Manchester
Adjournment in Rooney agent trial
06 Oct 04  |  Manchester
Agent 'saw Rooney as cash cow'
05 Oct 04  |  Manchester
Agent 'in tears following threat'
04 Oct 04  |  Manchester
Agent blackmail accused in court
09 Sep 03  |  Merseyside

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