King Avoids Jail But More Trouble Lies Ahead

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Dave King avoided jail today in a London court, when Sports Direct’s lawyers appeared to turn up at the proceedings without bringing the smoking gun.

In fact, it was a rather baffling morning, as the guns they did bring didn’t even appear to be loaded.

James Doleman offered the best performance of the proceedings, keeping all the Internet Bampots up to date throughout with a clear and concise commentary on events, and those were far stranger than many of us anticipated.

For one thing, the judge appeared slightly perplexed, right from the start, as to what exactly Sports Direct and their legal team were up to.

Amongst the many questions he asked about the way in which they conducted the case was why King hadn’t been called as a witness, why Jim Whyte hadn’t been summoned and why Sports Direct believed King’s statements during his interview with the Sky Sports presenter in South Africa constituted an offence serious enough to send a man to jail, even a man as egregiously unfit for holding office in a football club as the “glib and shameless liar.”

We know Ashley has a game plan, but even His Honour was confused as to just where this particular courtroom skirmish fits into it, asking, after he’d dismissed Sports Direct’s case without even needing to hear a summation from King’s lawyer just what £400,000 had been committed to this action for.

It’s a question many of us will be asking over the next few days.

This matter now moves on to a new series of hearings, two tomorrow and a major one in January, relating to the Sports Direct injunction itself, which Ashley’s company appears to want extended and hardened.

There is no sign of them softening their stance.

Two items of potential interest emerged from the hearing; the first is that King’s lawyers claim that Sevco has paid off the Sports Direct £5 million loan.

This is a strange one, as this information was not released with any fanfare at all, and appears to have been timed to embarrass Ashley’s council with new information.

Indeed, he claimed to be unaware of it.

Have they actually done this?

I would think so, otherwise that’s a dangerous road to go down.

Quite where the money came from is something the Bampots will have to investigate, but there’s little doubt that the Three Bears provided the bulk of it, if not every penny.

Quite how long their forbearance lasts will be the subject of much speculation … but if you were in their shoes how long would you carry on burnishing the reputation of a man like King, who so far has invested exactly none of his own money in this enterprise?

The second item of interest was King himself submitting an affidavit to the court saying he didn’t know the terms of the Sports Direct gagging order against the club.

Even the judge expressed doubts over this one, and I am willing to bet that if there is a comeback from Ashley over today it will be focussed on this document and what’s in it.

Indeed, King himself, when he did speak, was his usual obfuscating self, claiming not to remember much of the Sky interview, and at one point actually saying he didn’t know he was wearing his “Rangers hat” during it.

I think we can say, quite openly, he’s very lucky Sports Direct’s guys didn’t have him up on the stand when he uttered that nonsense.

He has already given one of his famous statements to the media in the aftermath of the hearing, telling STV that he was “not surprised” by the “withering” judgement.

It was, he said, a “humiliation for Mike Ashely”, the kind of remark we’ve come to expect from this guy and one not designed to put these issues to bed.

His bombast knows no bounds, and if he needed his ego stroking today is a good day for it.

But trouble is never far away and only a mug would think we’ve seen the end of this.

Sports Direct’s legal case today cost an estimated £200,000 upwards and it’s hard to imagine Ashley having spent that money for nothing.

Whatever today was about, it appears not to have been about putting the Sevco chairman in jail.

So if not that, then what?

Did they simply overestimate the strength of their case?

I’d be very surprised if they had.

It looked weak on paper, and to anyone who had watched that Sky interview it was very difficult to see where King had crossed the line.

In court today it was even less convincing and the failure to put King himself on the stand is glaring.

So something more is going on here.

In the fullness of time, I suspect King’s gloating outside the courtroom will be seen as hubris.

He could have been humble today; a victory like this appears to be needs no spinning whatsoever.

His lack of class and sophistication in these matters is astounding.

What is it DeNiro’s Al Capone says in The Untouchables?

“One more thing; you have an all out prize fight, you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. And that’s how you know who won.”

This one isn’t over by a long, long way, and my money is on Ashley being the one with the staying power, and the money, to see it through to a real finish.

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  • delboy70 says:

    R.i.p sevco????

  • schoosh71 says:

    I think even the judge must have been confused, as to why the SD counsel didn’t want to question Mr king and put him on record, in a court of law, given the fact he was sitting there. HH

  • Doodsy says:

    Was it a case of pay up the £5m and have a merry xmas with turkey in lieu of porridge

  • Albert Murphy says:

    Would be astonished if the 5 mil has been paid back. As I understand it this information was not volunteered to the court but given in response to a question from the judge. It smacks of King attempting to think on his feet with the only thing he can come up with being a blatant lie. He is a pathological liar and is quite incapable of resisting the temptation to lie. If the money had been paid yesterday, they’d have been shouting from the rooftops about it. Tomorrow in court may be more interesting than today.

  • Pasty says:

    By all reports King and 1000’s of Rangers Fans will be laughing at Mike Ashley tonight and for a while to come, along with a few Newcastle fans who see anyone who gives Mike a bloody nose as a good guy.

    Ashley surely only needs to order a new massive share issue for the company that owns Rangers Retail which he currently owns 75% of and has the right to issue new shares. The issue of new shares would allow him to take a greater and long lasting ownership of Rangers Retail unless the current shareholders all want to Buy their allotted shares and their current % in the company intact, something which is unlikely given that they need all their funds to get to the end of the season. this would be an easy way for Mike to give King a Bloody Nose and ensure that King and Rangers will never again be able to take over and control the Rangers Retail Brand and outlets.

    • TJ Hooper says:

      That’s not how it works Pasty. If you issue new shares you need to allow existing shareholders to buy shares sufficient to keep their proportionate holding in place. In any case, assuming the 75% is right, he already controls Rangers Retail – no one can out-vote him – so there’s not a lot to be gained.

  • Big Mike says:

    All very strange! I am beginning to wonder if our esteemed bloggers e.g. above, James Forest, Phil etc spend their time guessing at what might happen based on what? Nothing untoward has happened to the Hun in years now and I am beginning to think nothing will.

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