Date: 17th October 2018 at 12:42pm
Written by:

One of the longest, and most complex, articles I ever wrote was over on Fields, and it concerned a meeting that took place in a London hotel between various factions on the . The media line, doubtless fed to them by some PR person, was that these groups had met completely by chance. In other words, of all the gin joints in all the world, they just happened to have chosen the same one on the same night. A coincidence, in other words.

I thought that suggestion was laughable, then and now.

Nevertheless, coincidences do happen, even those which seem so improbable that no writer of fiction would touch them. The article examined one of them; about how the world almost ended in 1983, because of a confluence of events which led the Soviet Union to believe the West was on the brink of launching an attack on them.

Starting two years earlier, with an intelligence gathering action called Operation RYAN – which involved the Soviet spies in America and Britain looking for signs of “preparations for war” – 1983 saw a series of US-UK psychological warfare operations, a major US naval exercise, increased military spending across the and, most alarmingly, the Soviet’s downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 and a bizarre false alarm at a Soviet missile warning station.

Then, in November of that year, the NATO alliance conducted one of the largest military exercises in its history; Able Archer. The Soviets, reeling from the other events, believed that the exercise was the preparation for an actual attack and began to prepare to hit first. The world probably owes it survival to some very cool-headed people, amongst them the radar station operator, Stanislav Petrov, who refused to panic when his computers told him that the missiles were on their way.

So I don’t write off the idea of coincidences; I just know that some things look like exactly what they are.

And I find a story in the media today about how the Easdale’s and the Ashley group are coming together to invest in Morton to be a little too neat and tidy and the timing a little too perfect to be anything other than what it looks like; a meeting of like minds who have more occupying their attention spans than the goings-on at Cappielow.

I am no stranger to political intrigue, and I know that if you’re going to get people like that into a room to plan something big you cover it by giving them a reason for being there that you can feed to the press and throw them off the scent.

But the one thing that unites Ashley’s people and the Easdale’s is a loathing for and a desire to see him brought low. Anyone who believes that those people got together and didn’t discuss that is quite mad … and anyone who believes that investing in Morton is a more pressing concern isn’t thinking straight.

The Easdale’s have history with Morton. That’s a well-known fact, and it’s in the public record. But quite why Ashley would want to invest there is something the reports don’t even try to explain except with a vague assertion that he might want them as a feeder club for Newcastle.

Really? Does that club presently have some problem sending its best young players out on loan? I know of a half dozen of its players who have actually played in Scotland at a higher level than at Morton. Why would he be remotely interested in this?

An Easdale spokesman says discussions over investing in Morton are at “an early stage”. I am betting that discussions are at as advanced a stage as they’ll get to. The Easdale’s are about to see their remaining shareholding in Sevco diluted to the point of irrelevance, which might make the Takeover Panel’s demand that King make an offer for them almost redundant. Ashley and his people have a legal case against the club in the works right now.

But of course, we’re to believe that these topics weren’t on the agenda.

That all of it concerned a Scottish Championship club which all of a sudden interests a billionaire.

It’s a good story.

I wonder who in the media actually does believe it?

There’s something in the wind here, something big … and it’s not something King will be happy with.

This one is definitely worth watching.

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