Lean times at Clyde & Co, or just boring ones? The firm placed ads in the Manchester Evening News to club together enough Manchester United and England fans for a class action to be taken to the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) against football shirt retailers.
Should Clydes be successful in signing up enough new punters, the class action will be the first of its kind since competition laws were amended to allow individuals to claim damages against companies found guilty of anticompetitive behaviour.
The claim surrounds the 2003 Office of Fair Trading (OFT) probe into price collusion between JJB Sports, Umbro, AllSports and others that culminated in a £18.6m fine. Clydes is luring fans with the promise of £20 potential compensation per shirt. Does £20 even buy a train ticket from Manchester to London?
As yet, however, the prospect of an action is still some way off and the retailers involved have not felt the need to instruct counsel. “Clydes are basically ambulance chasing,” said a source close to the original OFT case. “Their straight litigators must be very bored.”