Man Utd star sues over boots that allegedly damaged his feet and affected his performance
Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has filed a £2.1m lawsuit against sportswear brand New Balance, claiming that the boots he was supplied damaged his feet and impacted his performances.
The Belgium international claims United’s assistant kitman had to steam and stretch his boots before he could put them on to play matches.
New Balance hit back with WhatsApp matches to one of their employees in which he reportedly said his boots were “perfect”. That was after a bespoke pair had been supplied in response to a complaint from Fellaini that the boots he had originally been supplied were uncomfortable.
Barrister Ruth den Besten, who represents Rosalina Investments – the company seeking damages on Fellaini’s behalf – outlined his case in a claim statement.
She said: “The football boots supplied by New Balance were of poor quality and caused considerable damage to Mr Fellaini’s feet.
“In order that the boots fit Mr Fellaini, they were required to be steamed and stretched by the Manchester United FC’s assistant kit man.”
She added: “Mr Fellaini repeatedly communicated his frustration with the poor quality of the boots.”
But Ian Mill QC, representing New Balance, provided a written defence that emerged today in which he claimed Fellaini was happy with his replacement boots.
It read: “The player orally informed Mr Simon Crawford of New Balance that he was experiencing discomfort when wearing certain boots.
“New Balance therefore arranged for the player to be provided with bespoke replacement boots.”
He added: “The player indicated in WhatsApp messages sent to Mr Ben Robson, an employee of New Balance, that he was content with the fit of the replacement boots.”
Two WhatsApp exchanges were referenced in the defence.
The first, from December 2016, involved Mr Robson asking Fellaini if the new boots were “a good fit for you, better than previous?”. The player had allegedly responded: “Yeah”.
In January Mr Robson followed up: “Is the fit feel of the boots good?”
On that occasion, Fellaini, aged 30, reportedly replied: “Perfect for the boots.”