Happy Mondays and former Black Grape lead singer faces massive pay-out after losing court battle with managers he sacked...

Shaun Ryder is being made to pay #160,000 to former managers Gloria and William Nicholl after he lost his battle at the Appeal Court in London earlier today.

The pair helped revive Ryder’s fortunes by managing the now defunct Black Grape, the group he formed after the demise of The Happy Mondays in 1992.

Ryder, said by Lord Justice Thorpe to be a “dyslexic drug abuser” who was unable or unwilling to concentrate on paper work, had appealed against a High Court ruling that the Nicholls were entitled to the payment for loss of earnings following the breach of contract.


Husband and wife team Gloria and William Nicholl negotiated a publishing contract and record deal for Black Grape with Radioactive Records in March 1993. They then drew up a management agreement binding Ryder to the deal and specifying the amount of commission he would pay from his earnings.

Ryder signed it at once, saying that he didn’t want to know its contents.

“He said that he was freaked out by paperwork and that it did his nut in,” said Lord Justice Thorpe.

The following summer, Black Grape’s debut album ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah! went straight to number one and further successful singles followed.

But after that, the relationship between Ryder and the management team deteriorated rapidly, said the judge.

Ryder thought the Nicholls were trying to rip him off for money not covered by their agreement with him and they took the view he was deliberately blocking commission payments.


In June 1996 Ryder sacked the Nicholls after being told by lawyers that the contract was invalid – even though it had been examined by a solicitor on Ryder’s behalf before he signed it.

Upholding the High Court decision, Lord Justice Thorpe said he was satisfied Ryder WAS bound by the contract.

It’s not yet known whether Ryder can even afford to pay the bill. He admitted that he reformed the Mondays earlier this year to pay off his tax bills. Ryder was unavailable for comment.

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