Dave King Has Pushed His Luck For The Last Time As He Gets Set To Defy The Takeover Panel.

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There are those who say that brinksmanship is a game for the brave.

It’s actually a game for the crazy.

When the stakes are high – as they are in Chicken, one of its variant forms – the winner is the person who proves his or herself the one willing to risk everything so as not to be labelled with the derisive adhesive the enterprise is named after.

The problem is, if you have two crazy people playing it instead of one the results are nothing short of catastrophic; two hunks of twisted metal, a road full of debris, and a pair of body bags being loaded into the back of the meat wagon.

The game does not reward sanity, but it punishes, harshly, collective insanity.

Dave King has spent his whole professional life, it seems to me, in what he believes to be some form of brinksmanship or another. He has butted heads with South African tax inspectors. He has gone toe to toe with learned gentlemen in their judiciary. He has played fast and loose with regulators. When he took over Sevco he very deliberately broke the rules on operating within a concert party and in doing so courted the current trouble. He picked a fight with a billionaire, a man of unimaginably deep resources. King almost seems to enjoy it.

But King, for all his bluster and arrogance, is bad at the game.

The truth is, what he’s spent the better part of his professional life doing isn’t even brinksmanship at all.

What he’s doing is one way stupidity.

If the quintessential example of brinksmanship is two guys squaring up to each other in a pub, what King is doing is more like a guy so drunk he can hardly stand on his feet lurching across a bar to insult a table full of skinheads and challenging them to a fight.

It is not brinksmanship to sit in the drivers seat of a family car, and drive heedlessly towards a guy in a tank. Taken to its extreme, that challenge only ends one way.

King knows this, which is why on every occasion he goes only so far and then swerves at the last second, just before the impact. The trouble is, to survive doing that your timing has to be perfect. Turn the wheel even a fraction too late and its over.

There’s something else; King may believe he appears nerveless at times, but he’s making the darkest mistake of them all in assuming that those he is butting heads with are playing the same game.

In South Africa the choices were pay up or go to jail; the state wasn’t bluffing even if Dodgy Dave thought he was.

Ashley finally forced him to pay £3 million in order to stay out of court, because Ashley wasn’t kidding around and was willing to go the full road and wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

The Takeover Panel took him to court to get him to comply.

They aren’t kidding around either, and if it looks like they’ve dragged their feet on bringing on the pain up until now neither King nor his dwindling band of supporters should be kidding themselves on about it. The Takeover Panel sought a court order and won it. They are through playing this guy’s game, and the near certainty that King has decided to go an extra round is a clear sign that the man has completely lost the plot.

The City of London regulators and the UK judiciary now know the name Dave King. They knew the name Rangers already; now they know the Sevco version intimately as well. And they are not interesting in whatever infantile fantasy King things he’s living in. In deciding not to pay heed to their instructions he is engaging in a game of bluff and that’s all well and good if everyone around the table knows that’s what the game is …

But to the people he’s dealing with here, this is not a game.

There is no bluff to be called.

They have given him a legally binding instruction, with the stamp of a court on it. What he appears not to realise is that it’s already too late to swerve. He’s already passed the point of no return; the game of chicken is over already, whatever excuse he tries on.

Now all that’s left is to wait for the collision. Between King and reality.

In a lifetime of diabolical judgement calls, of seeing how far he could push his luck, this is the stupidest. This is the worst. And as with those maniacs who play, to the finish, the game he thinks he’s been playing all this time, it’s also most probably his last.

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