Sportswear company Umbro has released England and Liverpool star Steve McManaman from his ten-year contract after a bitter dispute.
McManaman signed a contract with Umbro when he was 18 for 6,000 a year. The 26-year-old star claimed the contract had not increased sufficiently as he became a more established player, and that the enforcement of the contract amounted to a restraint of trade.
Umbro marketing director Martin Prothero says: “Our relationship with Steve has been mutually beneficial and we wish him every success in the future.”
However, in September last year Umbro took McManaman to court because he played several matches wearing Reebok boots.
An Umbro spokesman comments: “It was very important for the industry to do that. We had to maintain the integrity of contracts that we sign in this business.”
Sources close to the company say that it had increased McManaman’s contract from 6,000 to 18,000 annually. The source adds that Umbro was prepared to raise it further. However, after the court case relations broke down between the two parties.
McManaman is understood to be holding out for a new boot contract worth up to 1m a year, with Reebok and Nike favourites to secure his signature.