Paul Sims, Daily Mail (London), November 20, 2009
It’s a horribly familiar situation for many of us: no sooner is it payday than various bills and shopping trips mean we’re right back where we started.
But you’d expect it to be a different story for a Premier League footballer earning £75,000 a week.
Not, however, in the case of former Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins, who was often broke, according to claims about the star’s prodigious spending habits in a court case yesterday.
The revelations marked the start of a bitter legal battle between the player and his former management company, as it was claimed that he regularly withdrew £40,000 at weekends and a further £25,000 the following Monday.
Nigeria international player Martins, 25, joined Newcastle for a £10million fee in August 2006.
NVA Management insists it managed every aspect of its former client’s life and was often forced to bail him out after his bank account slipped into the red.
The firm is now suing the footballer for £300,000 it claims he still owes them for sorting out his financial affairs.
Robert Tennink, the lawyer representing NVA, told the High Court in London: ‘Despite earning these vast sums of money he was constantly overdrawn.’ He said Martins had come to the firm, which looks after the affairs of several footballers, film and music stars, in July 2007.
In return for managing his life, he would pay a one-off fee of £300,000, and give NVA 20 per cent of any sponsorship monies they acquired on his behalf.
Mr Tennink said it was under NVA’s stewardship that the striker agreed a £2million image rights deal ‘simply for being Mr Martins’.
The star also had lucrative sponsorship deals with various companies including Pepsi and Nike but had not been paid for these until NVA stepped in to get the contracts honoured, bringing in thousands of pounds.
Before they managed his affairs Martins had not been paid a penny for his image rights on Newcastle United shirts and mugs. He had received nothing from his sponsorship deals and could not even find the contracts he had originally signed.
NVA said it also organised travel visas, a passport, his mortgage and property valuations, and was constantly going up to Newcastle from its London offices for him.
Mr Tennink told Judge Richard Seymour, QC: ‘Day to day life with superstars is demanding and superstars are demanding.’
Martins, who owned several fast cars including a top-of-the-range £85,000 Porsche Cayenne 4×4, spent the money on a lifestyle of luxurious penthouse homes and fine dining.
He owned a large multimillion pound home in the exclusive footballers’ enclave of Darras Hall, near Ponteland, Northumbria, and rented an opulent flat overlooking Newcastle upon Tyne’s trendy Quayside.
The striker, who was sold for £9million to German side Wolfsburg after Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League earlier this year, paid NVA £67,500 in January last year and another £25,000 in April last year but NVA claims it is still owed over £300,000.
Martins, who was not in court yesterday, is fighting the claim and the hearing is scheduled to last for three days.