Today The Daily Record’s Keith Jackson has published a truly extraordinary article suggesting that Mike Ashley might have to “tear up” his contracts with Sevco.
It is extraordinary for a number of reasons, the first being I don’t think even Jackson believes this one himself.
It’s too dumb for words, but alas words are needed.
Newcastle’s relegation does many things to Mike Ashley, none of them good. But what it does not do, in any way, shape or form, is affect commercial contracts Sports Direct has drawn up with football clubs across the country.
Ashley has been preparing for this eventuality, and he has numerous options for getting rid of his shareholding if it comes to that, not that it will. Because, and this is what Jackson apparently doesn’t grasp in his desire to see Sevco gain something, until the moment the relegation was confirmed Mike Ashley hadn’t actually broken any of the Football League’s rules.
Let me say that in a different way, and forgive the weakness of the analogy; if robbing banks had been made illegal just this morning nobody would be particularly concerned that you’d been involved in one yesterday.
Now, if Jackson and his paper had said “As from today any future bank robberies will result in you going to jail” that would be one thing, but that’s not what they are saying at all. They are saying that the bank robberies you committed last year can get you prosecuted; that’s where the main part of the story falls down dead.
Ashley’s shareholding in Sevco long since ceased to be about wielding influence.
He’s no longer interested in that.
He tried to keep King and his people off the board, but he can argue if he has to that having a convicted tax crook running the club was damaging to his investment and that’s the reason he mounted opposition; I suspect the Football League would have a very hard time arguing that he has no right to protect his share price.
Sports Direct no longer has people on the board, and their right to do so went down the tubes the minute the club paid Ashley back his loans. Sevco shot themselves in the foot with that one, if they’re now going to argue he has some kind of say in who can be a director.
That was the moment he walked away from “influence” – undue or otherwise.
It’s this notion that the Football League will dictate to Ashley, or anyone else, the rights or not of commercial contracts that really makes me laugh.
Undue influence you could argue, if you were really of a mind to (you’d lose but you could at least present a case) but the idea of football administrators trying to dictate corporate business to the owner of a club is an absolute non-starter.
Fit and proper person (which actually exists in England, as opposed to the travesty of it we have here) is one thing; this is what’s known as “tortious interference.”
Bottom line; if the Football League tries to tell Ashley what commercial contracts his companies are allowed he’ll simply say “see you in court” and any effort to restrict him or his club in any way – this idea of Newcastle being “banned from football” is hilarious – would be seen as detrimental to his ability to run his business, and would make the Football League financially liable for losses he incurred in light of that.
Like I said, this is just wishful thinking from Sevco supporting hacks – the only other giving this serious ink is Chris “Union” Jack. It’s simply not going to happen, and I know it’s not going to happen because no-one is making the same stupid suggestion as regards Oldham Athletic, who Sports Direct has similar arrangements with and who even gave him stadium naming rights. They play in the Football League too and no-one is going to try and make the connection in their case.
But they don’t have the media and PR machine Sevco does.
Here’s the main reason I find this story absolutely hilarious; these jokers have spent the last week plainly ignoring one of the most damaging independent reports on Scottish football in years, and are now busying away going through the regulations of another national league.
I find it amazing that the Scottish media is suddenly so fixated on football associations and their rules and regulations.
I applaud their efforts at defending sporting integrity … in England.
It’s a shame they don’t care quite so much about the rules and regulations here at home, which the SFA and the SPFL often make up as they go along.
I think it’s sheer hypocrisy for them to be citing those rules chapter and verse in a clear effort to “bounce” the English authorities into taking action when for years they’ve ignored the blatant corruption of the regulations right here at home.
And they’re still doing it.
Any of them willing to go on the record over The Offshore Game report yet?
No? I thought not.
They make me laugh at times, they really do.
What a joke they are.