Many of you are way too young to remember ITV's World of Sport and the four o' clock wrestling slot where unlikely mounds of flesh and muscle such as Hulk Hogan and Nick Bockwinkel locked in grips like a 'chokeslam' and a 'piledriver' in what then passed for sporting entertainment. It was pretty grotesque then, but nothing like as unpleasant as arch retail rivals Philip Green and Mike Ashley fixed in a Rear Body Lock Takedown over what may still be the death throes of Arcadia.
In a hard hitting interview on Catweazle on Friday evening (27 November) Mike Ashley went back on a statement he made in 2019 that he wouldn't purchase Green's empire for a pound (almost certainly a reference to the time when the somehow still knighted Philip Green sold BHS for the same amount). It turns out that Ashley is offering a £50 million lifeline to keep Arcadia Group afloat amid a looming tussle between the high street's biggest beasts. The offer has a whiff of not just irony but bullshit about it, as any offer Ashley could make would have to be approved by Frasers' pension trustees.
It will be fun to watch the popping veins on the side of Green's head as he tussles with his enemy's offer and although the Independent said that "tens of thousands of jobs are at risk" in typical Fleet Street hyperbole, the fact is that a ten of thousand jobs could go at Arcadia (well, a maximum of 13,000) if no proper offer for the group comes in either before or during the pending Administration. The Independent also invented a whole new insolvency term, naming Deloitte as the 'Fadministrator' ... our favourite so far.
It is reported that the board of Arcadia are tussling over a number of contingency options, and are up to 'the best of 17' now, as the coin fell on tails for the ninth time. Meanwhile the shops will start to trade again from Wednesday and Ashley is looking for more ways to wind up not just his rival as his doppelganger.