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I am no lawyer but I agree with Simon Jordan (that’s a first!) on Newcastle United takeover collapse

1 year ago

A number of years ago I was given early retirement from my teaching post.

This happened so they could save on my Head of Department salary by effectively scrapping my post and amalgamating my department with another.

I then applied to go onto the supply list for teachers. I heard nothing and kept phoning the relevant department. I was told it was being processed. This went on for weeks until I was told by the person dealing with it that it was ‘with her boss’.

More time passed and after continuous pressure I received a letter telling me my application had been turned down. They considered that I ‘ could not stand up to the rigours of classroom teaching’. I suspect this related to a month long absence I had seven years previously because of stress related illness, although this was never admitted.

I wrote to them insisting they produce evidence for this claim and also told them that I had consulted my union and would be taking out a grievance procedure with union backing and if necessary further legal proceedings. Within days they caved in and put me on the list.

What has this to do with the failed Newcastle United takeover? Well I think the Council hoped that by dragging things out I would get fed up and go away or try another authority. Clearly they did not want me but did not want to come out and say so. When they were forced to by my threats to involve the union, they shot themselves in the foot.

Similarly, the Premier League did not want the takeover to go through and hoped the consortium would get fed up and go away, which is what has happened.

I think that Mike Ashley and the consortium could have deemed that by holding up a legitimate business deal the PL were in restraint of trade. If then the PL had been forced to make a decision and it was ‘no’ then they would be compelled to give reasons.

Just as in my case these reasons can only have been made on subjective grounds, ‘we think he is not up to teaching but do not have any evidence to back this up’…Clearly the PL were listening to the Qataris and decided that both our consortium and the live football pirates were little more than fronts for the Saudi regime.

This may be the case but there is no legal evidence for this and the consortium could have sued the backside off the PL. In fact, as in my case, the PL would have given in, realising that the potential owners met all their financial and fit persons rules.

My local authority might have been correct and I might have broken down but they had no evidence for this and so it is with the PL’s perception of the Saudis.

The Premier League has allowed itself to get dragged into the Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Qatar of which the piracy issue is but a minor skirmish. The PL has been too cowardly to come out and say no because it knows they cannot make it stick.

I am no lawyer but I am inclined to agree with Simon Jordan (that’s a first!), who was surprised that either Mike Ashley and/ or the consortium had not pursued the PL in court over their delaying tactics.

There is now no way the PL will come out and say why they had doubts about the deal.

A legal threat could (or can we dream yet) force the PL’s hand.

You can always hope but hope is rare commodity when it comes to Newcastle United.


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