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Chris Nathaniel is back in business

A QUESTION OF SPORT: Nathaniel (centre) with Ferdinand and Bolt (right)

ANYONE WHO thought that the false allegations made against Chris Nathaniel would derail him had better have a rethink.

The well-known sports agent, who made his name in the world of music, saw his career temporarily derailed two years ago, but he is, quite literally, back in business.

In June 2012, Nathaniel, along with Paul Boadi and seven other men, was charged with the murder of an 18 year-old London man in December of the previous year.

A year later Nathaniel, who had no previous convictions and always maintained his innocence, was unanimously acquitted at the Old Bailey of all charges.

It was, to say the least, a difficult time for a man who has worked with some of the biggest names in sport and entertainment.

When the Voice of Sport recently caught up with the self-confessed Liverpool fan, he was the picture of health and enthusiasm and raring to get back down to business.

He said: “Life’s good. There’s never a dull moment. It was a very good [football] transfer window. I did a lot of work with foreign agents, playing the middle man role.

“I spent the summer just rebuilding my relationships with clubs, meeting CEOs and managers such at Roberto Martinez at Everton

“It’s good to be back and I’m enjoying it. I’m working with the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Junior Hoilett and all is OK.”
For a man who has kept company and done business with the likes of Amber Rose, Nick Cannon, Rio Ferdinand, Usain Bolt, John Terry, Jay Z, Diddy, Usher and Kelly Rowland, Nathaniel was clearly pumped up to have struck a recent deal to be the UK representative of American boxing sensation, Adrien Broner, who has widely drawn comparisons to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Broner, who has won world crowns from super-feather to welterweight, at 25 has been deemed as the next big thing in the world’s most brutal sport.

“I wanted to sign Adrien Broner a long time ago but nothing happened. Then by chance one Sunday I got an email asking if I would represent him in the UK,” recalls Nathaniel.

“At first I thought it was a wind up. But after a while it all became clear. Even more so when I saw on Twitter that Broner himself had announced the deal!

“I’m excited about Broner, he’s the new kid on the block. He’s young, and has cutting edge talent.”

While Nathaniel netted Broner he just failed to land the controversial talent that is Mario Balotelli, who is currently plying his trade with Liverpool in the Premier League.

“I just missed out on Balotelli. I went out to Italy to meet his family and all was looking good. His mother was good enough to make me and my colleagues dinner.

“However, she and the rest of the family didn’t think that Mario, at that time, was ready mentally to come to England
“We accepted their wishes and said that we would just keep in contact.

“Having respected the family’s wishes another agent didn’t and got involved and as they say the rest is history.
“Had we been a bit more aggressive we might have brought him to England. I’m still in touch with the family to this day, so you never know.”

But while working with some of the top names in the world continues to give him a buzz, Nathaniel, once adjudged to be one of the top 100 most influential people in sport, is keen to leave a legacy and encourage future generations to engage in the sports agency business.

“My motivation is based on wanting to create a legacy for young people,” said Nathaniel. I want them to feel that they can say ‘I can do this’.

“I don’t really see what I do as a job. I’m in the fortunate position where I do not have to play the lottery game which a lot of agents have to; they often have to sign 100 players and see which ones stick.

“I’m very specific about the talent I take on. I only take on talent I think I can improve. I don’t just want to be a passenger I want to bring added value to my clients.

“When we took on Rio [Ferdinand], yes he was established, but he wasn’t the brand he’s turned out to be.
“He’s gone on to be a great example of how a Premier League player can exploit their brand. As a company we like to get involved at the exciting end of talent. We love personalities.

“Broner chose us on the back of our track record and it was a great feeling to get that phone call.

“The key thing for young people who wish to repliacte what I do is having a clear vision of what you want to do. You’ve got to be tenacious through thick and thin too.

Of the billion dollar sports industry, he adds: “Young people will say it’s hard to get involved but no one opened any doors for me. It has been about my own vision and working out how I can penetrate the business. You’ve got to make things happen - it’s not good enough to just have wishes and wants.”

Astronomical sums of money attach themselves to sport and Nathaniel reflects: “The money’s got even more crazy than before and it keeps growing and growing.

“You can be an average player in the Premier League and still have a brand value.”

NVA is offering job opportunities and work experience to 16 - 24yr olds. For more info email info@nvaentgroup.com or visit website www.nvaentgroup.com

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