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Trying it on together

Thieves fall out, so the saying goes.

Of course, the array of dubious characters we are tracking have not been convicted of theft; but their willingness to fall out, make up again, and switch sides, makes it difficult to understand what goals lie behind their activities. The way they can switch their allegiances so easily remind us of warring factions in underdeveloped Middle Eastern countries. They baffle those of us who assume everyone behaves according to our norms; the rule of law, loyalty, honesty, openness.

Excuse us this lapse into contemplation of the human condition; it’s been prompted by the news we uncovered that Chris Farnell had joined with Laurence Bassini in seeking to extract money from Charlton by issuing Statutory Demands for payment within 21 days. In Farnell’s case we do not have sight of supporting documents for the claim, but we assume that it relates to fees he (or his practice, IPS Law) attempted to bill the club during the time when he installed himself in the Valley. There are good reasons to also assume that the timing, just a few days after Bassini’s move, is not a coincidence. 

The first reason is the way in which Farnell’s claim has been made public. You may recall that the initial news of Bassini’s claim was made public in a previously unknown media outlet called The Jewish Telegraph. This outlet broke the story of Bassini’s claim on February 9. With all due respect to this organ (and we’ll come to that in a moment) we assumed that they ran the story when more mainstream media contacts of Bassini declined to do so. As we mentioned in our previous post on this, we spoke to the medium’s editor Paul Harris, gave him the link to the Dossier website and simply expressed the hope that further coverage of the story might be more nuanced. We heard no more from him; however last week during a routine control of the many web links on our site, the Head of Dossiers discovered that the story in the Telegraph had been quietly updated to cover news of Farnell’s claim. (the Telegraph digital edition is basically a Facebook page and the original story about Bassini was simply retro-ftted on February 16 to include the new information about Farnell.) The reasonable person would believe that Bassini told Farnell that the Telegraph would oblige in mentioning his legal effort. We might in passing condemn the Telegraph for what is nowadays called “client journalism”, to which they may reasonably reply that if they had not done this we would still be unaware of Farnell’s move.

Either way the news set the team off on a new wave of source checking of activities of our wrong’uns, and we quickly uncovered further evidence of new, current, business cooperation between Bassini and Farnell. Before revealing more on this, we are seeking to establish what the nature of this cooperation might be; it may not be connected with Charlton. It might be part of Bassini’s bid for Chelsea🤣; because who reading this would not be surprised if this were announced, even if Kieran Maguire has already said that there are conditions for that sale offer to deter “tyre-kickers”.

There are good legal reasons to believe that Farnell will be no more successful than Bassini; nevertheless we are very interested in why therefore they are pursuing this fruitless legal route, and why now.

Bassini’s case relies on Southall asserting with evidence that the initial agreement between the two was valid, and that Southall further took valid steps to dump the debt on Charlton when he took over. Bassini therefore needs Southall’s cooperation. It is not yet known if Southall intends to help Bassini in this. Doubtless his decision will be based on a careful “risk-reward assessment”. We believe he has been made aware of some of the risks… however this then brings Southall back into proximity with Farnell in a legal effort with shared goals. Farnell has always liked to claim that he had nothing to do with the original ESI takeover, and in support of this he has reminded people that Southall failed to pay his practice a debt for legal services of £10,000. We have never taken this claim at face value. We know that Farnell was in contact with Jacco Van Seventer and Chris Gascoine before the ESI bid went forward in 2019. At the same time Bassini was working with Southall to try and claim a vast fee for “introducing” Southall to Charlton; a claim which we have already explained must be considered to be entirely bogus. Yet this gives support to the popular, if rather sweeping, view that “they were all in this together”. Our goal has been to unpick this viewpoint and provide clarity, so that each can be held to account for his individual contribution to this cynical abuse of a football club. Once again we urge all these dubious characters to leave our club alone, to leave all football clubs alone, and we urge all those with football in their hearts to push for the enactment of Tracey Crouch’s Fan-Led Review proposals, which are the best way to ensure that these and similar chancers disappear back down the hole from which they emerged.