Shhhh! It’s a Secret…

Good Morning.

So the cat is out of the bag.

Well that’s not quite true, is it?

Phil Mac Giolla Bhain let the cat out of the bag a week ago.

It has subsequently had a good wander around the (Big) house, gorged on food (something ‘fishy’, naturally) and paraded up and down the street carrying a placard saying “Look! Something Newsworthy Is Happening!“.

Apropos the King/Ashley meeting, and for the avoidance of doubt

Yes folks, it seems that the MSM has finally decided to ‘enquire’ about whether Dave King did meet Mike Ashley on the day of the recent Sevco EGM.

Ever since Phil carried the story about the meeting there has been a deafening silence from the media.

It was almost as if they were staring uncomfortably at their shoes, too scared to ask about it themselves in case the story turned out to be true, and they didn’t like the implications.

Of course, the tale of Mr King having a sit-down with His Big Mikeness is HUGELY newsworthy given

  • the hostile takeover mounted by King and co;
  • the distinctly unfriendly things that have been said about HBM and Sports Direct;
  • the calling of the recent EGM;
  • the RIFC board recommending to shareholders that they vote against repaying the Sports Direct Loan;
  • the security held by Sports Direct over most of Sevco’s assets, and their grip on the retail operation;
  • the board making noises about potentially stripping HBM of his shareholder voting rights; and
  • that things have already ended up in court – with Sports Direct successfully preventing the Board from publicly discussing details of confidential commercial contracts.

Yes, a King-Ashley meeting is pretty big news.

The meeting itself is newsworthy, but the content of the meeting is potentially much more ‘explosive‘.

Phil reports that King enquired about whether HBM would like to buy him out, asked him not to exercise his security over Sevco’s assets, and discussed the possibility of drawing down the second £5m tranche of the Sports Direct loan, and loaning more players from Newcastle United.

Phil also reports the possibility that King held the Ashley meeting without the rest of the RIFC Board knowing. Perhaps under the impression that he was actually having a meeting to discuss the relisting of their shares.

Indeed, King himself told the press pack on 8 June that he had a meeting planned later that week to do just that.

[Fast-forward to 1:10mins]

Perhaps he actually had two meetings towards the end of that week?

Maybe someone in the media could clear up the matter by asking the Sevco press office:

“On 8 June Dave King said he had a meeting later that week to discuss the relisting of RIFC shares. Who was that meeting with? When did it take place? Can you provide an update on the outcome?”

[*Doesn’t hold breath*]

The Clumposphere had been wondering which particular MSM outlet would put its head above the parapet on this story. Assuming of course that Sevco didn’t choose to confirm or deny it themselves.

So fair play to the Daily Mail for getting there ‘second’!

However. Before we get too excited, it is worth noting that the Daily Mail story doesn’t actually say very much at all.

In fact it just says that Ashley met King in ‘secret’ to discuss “a renegotiation of the club’s crippling retail deals”. [NB spot the loaded language!]

There is no consideration of the ramifications of the meeting, whether anything else was discussed or of the likely next steps.

There isn’t even a “Sevco declined to comment when asked about the meeting”.

There is only a brief outline of the weighting of the commercial deal in favour of Sports Direct, and some commentary indicating how concerned the RIFC directors and fans are about it.


A cynic might suggest that those looking after the public image of both Sevco and its senior personnel are attempting to manage the perception and implications of the meeting.

Has anyone seen a mysterious caped crusader?

Perhaps by prompting a media outlet to give a ‘straight bat’ account of it, suggest it was no biggie, and remind everyone of how HBM has their beloved ‘club’ ‘over a barrel’.

But that really would be a cynical point of view.

Maybe we will find out from the MSM that there was more to the meeting than simply discussing the commercial deal between Sevco and Sports Direct.

Maybe we won’t.

But at least the cat is now out of the bag as far as the MSM is concerned.

Which is progress of sorts.

Maybe they will develop an appetite for breaking genuinely interesting Sevco stories?

Then again, maybe we ought to keep an eye on Phil’s site instead?