Well, today the full consequences of spitting in the face of one of Britain’s most ruthless businessmen have fallen, like a hammer, on the directors of Sevco Rangers.
Mike Ashley has emerged from his period of quiet reflection to stun Paul Murray and Dave King with an immediate demand that they pay back the £5 million loan which remains outstanding.
He has asked for a board meeting to have this situation resolved, and in addition to this he is seeking clarity on exactly how the club came to be delisted from the AIM Stock Market and why they have yet to find a Nominated Advisor, enabling them to seek a place on another exchange.
Ashley has bided his time, doubtless watching as King and Murray have obfuscated and flapped in the wind.
That he gave them just enough rope to crawl out on the limb, before he sawed the limb off behind them, is hardly surprising.
This new Sevco board has conducted itself in the most shocking fashion, since way before they actually stormed the gates and took “control.”
Their whole attitude was one of aggression, refusing to compromise, almost as if they were looking for wars to get into.
In the middle of last month, they even spat in the face of the SPFL over ticket prices for the Championship Play-Off’s, a wholly un-necessary, even counterproductive, action which a number of commentators said was akin to starting a fight in an empty house.
When the SPFL called their bluff over that one, reminding them that the rules are for everyone (yes, I laughed too) they sulkily backtracked and announced prices as low as they could make them.
Not a lot of this makes sense. They lost money out of that deal, sure as Hell.
What they were trying to demonstrate was that they were willing to do that, on a point of principle, to deny other clubs access to cash they thought was rightly theirs.
The word “insanity” doesn’t even begin to cover that kind of behaviour.
The demonization of Ashley, however, took a special kind of folly.
I watched the recent investigation into Sports Direct, as I’m sure many of you did, and I saw a guy who tries to squeeze every penny out of every venture in which he’s involved.
Did anyone at Ibrox really think he’d simply go away? He owns 9% of the club.
Did they think that a guy who probably spends more, annually, on outside legal counsel, than Sevco pays out in running costs would fail to notice the rash of negative stories in unfriendly newspapers? That he’d sit and tolerate innuendo, snide comments, potentially slanderous commentary and open entreaties to “come ahead”?
I mean for God’s sake, how daft can you be?
It takes a special kind of stupid to try and provoke a battle with the guy who’s writing the cheques that are keeping your lights on.
It takes a certain demented skillset to isolate and alienate someone who’s only in it for the money and to start him taking things personally.
And all the while, we were being spoon-fed nonsense about how King had outflanked him.
Outthought him. Outmanoeuvred him.
What great strategy this was.
Now we see; it wasn’t strategy. It was lunacy.
Today the machine of Consequence is revving its engines.
Of course, this doesn’t have to end badly for the Sevco board.
If they have his money, they simply need to pay it back.
We’re always being told about how these are all high calibre individuals with a lot of disposable wealth, so the answer seems obvious to me; write him a cheque and be done with it.
Dispose of some of it. Give him what it takes to get rid.
If, as we’ve been led to believe, the answers to his questions are at hand for the Sevco board, all they have to do is provide them.
Do these things, and this matter is easily resolved.
But if the money isn’t there, they’ve got problems.
If the answers aren’t forthcoming they’ve got trouble.
And the painful truth – and it might be very painful indeed – is just this;
They had it coming.
They’ve been asking for it long enough.