Middlesborough Suing Birmingham City Football Club For Breach Of Contract
By Tim Parsons-
Middlesbrough Football & Athletic Company Ltd, are suing Birmingham City Football Club PLC, and four members of Gary Monk’s team for breach of contract.
The four members of the team mentioned in the legal suit are former England international James Beattie, head of performance Sean Rush, head of analysis Ryan Needs and goalkeeping coach Darryl Flahavan were placed on gardening leave by Boro after Monk was sacked in December
Boro claims that a clause in the backroom team members’ contracts prevents them from working together, and alongside Monk, for their Championship rival until December 28 this year.
Monk was Middlesbrough manager between June and December 2017 when he was fired for failing to deliver consistent results’, Boro’s barrister, Ian Mill QC, told London’s High Court.
The coaches were placed on gardening leave following Monk’s sacking, but resigned and joined Monk at the Blues when he took charge in March, he added. Beattie was formerly employed by Boro as the first-team coach, whilst Flahavan was employed as goalkeeping coach, and Rush as head of physical performance and Needs as head of physical performance analysis.
Boro argues that the quartet’s insider knowledge may give the relegation-fighting Blues a ‘competitive advantage’ over them. Their knowledge of ‘confidential information’ includes transfer targets and strategy, player wages and weaknesses, Boro’s lawyers say.
“A number of Middlesbrough’s current players, including some of its young players, who are on comparatively low salaries, were recruited or favored by different members of the backroom team and remain loyal to them.”
A full hearing is requested before the transfer window opening from May 7 to August 9, and the new season starting that same month, the QC said there should be a full hearing of the dispute as soon as possible. Without the injunction, ‘’Middlesbrough will face irreparable harm that cannot be readily quantified or compensated’’, the QC said.
“This matter is thus objectively urgent,” he added.
Lawyers for the backroom team and Birmingham City disputed the need for a speedy hearing of the case.
“There is no real, objectively viewed urgency that a speedy trial should be listed,” said the West Midlands club’s barrister, John Mehrzad.
Their knowledge of ‘confidential information’ includes transfer targets and strategy, player wages and weaknesses, according to Boro’s lawyers. There is a real risk that borough will lose players to BCFC if it continues to employ each member of the backroom team at the same time as each other and/or Mr Monk,” he added.