Yesterday I posted a piece on how Sevco are facing major problems with their shirt sponsor and with their kit manufacturer over Dodgy Dave King’s barmy provocation wherein he told Sports Direct they could no longer sell merchandise carrying the club’s intellectual property.
(That might very well be the last time you will see me use the words “intellectual” and “Dave King” in the same sentence.)
No sooner was that article online but someone sent me a rather amusing piece which had appeared in The Herald yesterday, which said that Puma, who had been planning to sell the shirts, were forced to take down the webpage on which they were going to do so. The Herald’s writer might have been steered towards an odd conclusion – that it was Sevco fans who had notified them that they had no right to do so – but the basics of the article were right on.
Puma removed the page because Sports Direct has an exclusivity agreement with the club. Without their prior approval – which, let’s face it, they’re not going to give – no-one is allowed to trade as much as a single one. This leaves Sevco fans in a bit of a pickle; if Ashley and his company decides to take King to court on the issue no shirts will be sold in the meantime. If he decides to ignore King’s demand and wait for a judge to rule, the Sevco fans will be told to boycott.
Some won’t. But most will act like good wee boys and girls.
This opens up a fairly amusing possibility; that you’ll have a better chance of spotting someone out and about wearing one of CQN’s Resolution 12 t-shirts than you will of seeing somebody wearing a Sevco home kit. Quite simply, one Celtic fan website may very well outsell Sevco’s entire retail arm.
The money the CQN team have raised to cover the expenses incurred during the campaign – in the thousands but no higher – will probably end up greater than Sevco’s total take from their once much heralded “merchandising deal.”
When you look at it that way, it becomes truly remarkable and it is telling about exactly where King and his board are dragging their football club.
Whatever pittance Sports Direct was throwing them, it’s surely better than the chaos they’ve unleashed by choosing to upend the deal in such a petty and self-defeating fashion.
The lunacy of this is manifest.
Yet it’s undeniably good for a laugh.
Of course, all this is to say that I fully expect King to try to take advantage of this situation, perhaps by releasing some in-house product and trying to get the fans to buy that. They would be as well to find a shop selling magic bean-stalk beans.
It’s the only way they’ll find themselves looking down on us in the coming season, and, in the fairy-tale at least, those actually did what it said on the tin, which means they stand up better than a promise from Dodgy Dave.
I suspect that even if they sold the lot, though, the income from it would still be offset by the damage this whole affair does to their commercial viability over the next few years.
Who would sign a merchandising deal with them after this, knowing the guy in charge could spit the dummy one day and call for boycotts and refuse to play ball? Who would pay for space on the front of a shirt, knowing that if he’s in the wrong mood (or just aggrieved at another club unveiling a top manager) that it may never see the light of day?
This is the laughing stock he’s made them, and even as large numbers of their fans buy, wholeheartedly, into his “vision” Sports Direct is now putting Celtic merchandise front and centre in their shops and on their website.
You can almost hear the cash registers ringing at Paradise.
Perhaps Ashley should consider stocking up on the Resolution 12 shirts as well, as they appear to have sold rather quickly.
He might also want to consider the logo on them; Persistence Beats Resistance.
It might well be the perfect model for how to handle King and his nonsense.
Let’s face it, a guy in his position, with literal billions, can certainly afford to persist; you’ve got to think that his wee dig with the over-promotion of Celtic stuff is only the start, helping us grow stronger even as the boycott weakens the team at Ibrox.
With that in mind the question is, how long can King possibly resist?
He and his club aren’t exactly sitting on unlimited resources.
Think more the suitcase that Jim Carey finally returns to Holly Hunter in Dumb & Dumber; all the cash in it is spent, and it’s stuffed, with IOU’s instead.
Over the course of the coming year, keep your eyes peeled for Resolution 12 shirts popping up in the oddest of places.
You might even consider playing a wee game with your mates; you get one point for every one of them you spot, and, in the interests of fairness, two for every 2016-17 Sevco home kit.
See who gets the highest score.
Oh what fun we’ll have.
The future’s bright. The future’s green and white.