Football, the mafia and other thrillers

Manchester City’s land battle with a Red Devil-supporting stubborn landowner has all the hallmarks of David and Goliath.

Etihad Stadium
Etihad Stadium

A solicitor in the suburbs versus a QC. A garage boss up against an oil-rich football club backed by the local council. All legal life is here.

Although the Blues’ £100m expansion plans have suffered a puncture, the date has been set for a public inquiry. Prestwich firm Latimer Lee’s Chris Platt is having to move fast to counter Manchester City Council’s instruction of deputy head of No5 Chambers Ian Dove QC.

Surely there’s only one winner – and it’s not a fairytale ending. Even Shaun O’Brien, who refuses to sell to the Abu Dhabi-owned Premier League giants, admits he’s unlikely to succeed.

But he and his plucky solicitors are digging in their heels against compulsory purchase order action from the heavyweights – and in doing so have got the whole world watching and waiting for 1 May.

*Exclusive: The Lawyer investigates the links between organised crime and arbitration. If you thought the boom in arbitration was only lawyers and big businesses, think again. Disturbing examples of criminal gangs infiltrating the arbitral process suggest that there’s more to the dispute resolution process than meets the eye.