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Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Tuesday, 19 October 2010 22:36 UK

Paul Stretford is the man behind Wayne Rooney's riches

Paul Stretford
Stretford established Proactive in 1987 from the cellar of his house

His entrepreneurial nous has propelled Wayne Rooney to fourth in the Sunday Times' richest British sportsmen under 30 with an estimated fortune of £33m.

And with commission of up to 20% on all deals with worldwide brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Powerade and Nike, Paul Stretford has in turn become one of the most wealthiest football agents in Britain.

Not bad for a former vacuum cleaner salesman.

But while most football agents quietly pull the money-making strings in the background as their clients do the business on the pitch, Stretford could find his cover blown wide open following the news that Rooney intends to quit Manchester United.

With manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealing he was "shocked" and "disappointed" to learn of Rooney's decision to leave Old Trafford, Stretford must devise a suitable PR strategy to protect Rooney from the wrath of indignant United fans.

The founder of Proactive Sports Management, the company he set up in his cellar in 1987, Stretford signed a 17-year-old Rooney as a client on an eight-year deal in 2002 while the player was at Everton.

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With with his new agent's negotiation skills, Rooney saw his basic apprentice wages of £75 multiply 173 times to £13,000 a week, including a portion for his image rights.

"One of the things that Paul fought for when negotiating my first professional contract was my image rights," Rooney wrote in his first autobiography.

"I think I was the first 17-year-old to have image rights written into his first professional contract which meant I would get a percentage of all commercial rights sold by the club from the start."

Less than two years later, Stretford negotiated Rooney's record-breaking £27m move from Goodison Park to Manchester United when he signed a six-year contract in August 2004.

But the one thing I would say is keep your home and your family out of it and just take your endorsements if that's what you want to do

Stretford ensured his client's wages were among the level of the world's elite in November 2006 when Rooney signed a two-year extension, keeping him at the club until 2012, worth £90,000 a week.

But while the multinational companies continued to throw six-figure sums at the player for a slice of the lucrative Rooney marketing machine, Stretford found himself at the centre of Football Association charges for breaching domestic and Fifa regulations in 2008.

The investigation followed Stretford's year-long wrangle with Peter McIntosh, the striker's first agent, who felt his player had been "poached" without adequate compensation in 2002, a claim which ended up in a Warrington court in 2004.

The charges related to how Stretford acquired the right to represent Rooney, and for making false and/or misleading statements to police and in testimony to Warrington Crown Court in 2004 during the examination of the circumstances of how Rooney had joined Proactive from McIntosh's Pro-Form Sports Management company.

Wayne Rooney
Rooney's current contract expires at the end of the 2011/12 season

Stretford was accused of misleading proceedings in a case against three men accused of blackmailing him, whom he claimed were forcing him to sign a contract splitting his profits 50-50 with McIntosh.

"The commission found that Mr Stretford encouraged Mr Rooney and his parents to enter into a representation agreement with Proactive Sports Management Limited on 17 July 2002 although he knew Mr Rooney was still then under contract with Pro-Form Sports Management Limited," said the FA, although a charge of enticing Rooney away from McIntosh was not proven.

Despite numerous appeals, Stretford finished a nine-month suspension earlier this year, when he also survived a £4.3m lawsuit brought by Proactive.

Stretford took Rooney's account with him following an acrimonious split with Proactive in October 2008, prompting his former employers of accusing Rooney, wife Coleen and their agent of withholding commission on multi-million pound deals that had been brokered by Proactive.

But Judge Brendan Hegarty QC ruled in favour of the defendants, saying the contract Rooney had signed as a teenager with Proactive in 2002 had amounted to a "restraint of trade" as it was up to eight years long when the FA recommends a maximum of two.

Rooney said he remained with Stretford because he "trusted" him and was grateful for his help and management.

With less than two years to go on his current deal, it was Stretford who informed Manchester United chief executive David Gill that Rooney no longer wanted to remain at Old Trafford in August.

And it is Stretford who will lead the search for a new club should his client search for new employers in the months to come.



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see also
Rooney wants to leave - Ferguson
19 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney's year in pictures
22 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Tuesday's gossip column
19 Oct 10 |  Gossip
Rooney 'will not sign new deal'
18 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Giggs out with hamstring injury
17 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 2-2 West Brom
16 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Rooney denies ankle injury claim
13 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney removed from Coke campaign
04 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney feeling strain - Ferguson
24 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney left out of Man Utd squad
11 Sep 10 |  Premier League


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