In this day and age, sponsorship deals can be worth millions of pounds and are therefore meticulously observed by both footballers and legal departments alike.
Back in the 1970s, things were just that little bit looser, with QPR legend Stan Bowles proving himself well adept in exploiting the ‘good faith’ nature of such agreements.
At the time, Bowles was contracted to Gola (as can be seen in the photo above), who would send out a representative to deliver an envelope stuffed with £200 – roughly £1,500 in today’s money – every time the Hoops forward played for England whilst wearing their boots.
Writing in his autobiography, Bowles revealed the precise terms of his sponsorship deal with Gola, which also saw him paid a little bit extra on top every time his picture appeared in the print press.
As an incentive, you used to get an extra fifty quid if a picture of you in a Gola t-shirt appeared in the paper, so I was always keen for a bit of that.
With Bowles performing well for club and country, it wasn’t long before a rep from Adidas attempted to set up an endorsement deal, with the German brand offering an increased rate of £250 per match.
Christmas has come early, thinks me.
Bowles duly signed the deal with Adidas while strategically ‘forgetting’ to mention said negotiations to the good people at Gola.
His QPR teammates were well aware of the ruse, but quizzical as to how Bowles intended to pull it off.
[I said] for £450, I’ll wear one boot on each foot.
Nobody knew what I had done until a few days later, but it obviously didn’t go down too well when they found out.
Simple, elegant, crafty, amusing… and, sadly, busted!
(Via Retro Football Blog)