FORMER Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Bradford City manager Bryan Robson is considering taking legal action over the Channel 4 Dispatches programme in which he allegedly offered Thailand businessmen advice on getting around strict rules relating to football club ownership.
The Football Association are still reviewing footage of the programme before deciding whether to take action against Robson; his current position as a Manchester United global ambassador has also been called into question.
Robson acted as an adviser to the London Nominees Football Fund whose representative Joe Sim offered Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday for sale to undercover reporters.
The former England captain broke his silence yesterday and revealed that he was taking legal advice. “I am aware of (but have not yet seen) the Channel 4 production – Dispatches – How to Buy a Football Club,” he said. “I have seen certain newspaper articles written about it and I would like to make certain things clear.
“I am an adviser to the London Nominees Football Fund and was engaged to provide advice and assistance on the football side of investments only.
“While it may have been unwise to enter into discussions with unknown parties, much of the footage of me is unrepresentative of the views I expressed during the course of the meeting and has been presented in a way that is totally out of its context.
“The journalists were repeatedly told by me and others that owning multiple clubs was a breach of the rules and could not be done. I am appalled to learn that footage has been edited to suggest that I was involved in an attempt to try and breach these rules – which is something I would not do.
“This entire episode is yet another example of some representatives of the media behaving in a totally unacceptable way in the manner in which they obtain and then present information. As a result of this, I am taking legal advice on the way forward.”
Robson is currently with Manchester United on their pre-season tour in the USA.
In the Dispatches programme, Robson was filmed saying: “I disagree with people when they say football is a sport. Football lost its sporting thing when the money started coming in and Sky TV and all that. Football’s a business.”
Robson, who was in charge of the Thai national side at the time of the filming, met what turned out to be undercover reporters alongside Sim who is a chief adviser to the Thailand FA.
Sim boasted of his friendship with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and claimed he could get the Scot to loan players once a club had been bought.
Ferguson’s lawyers have already distanced the Manchester United manager from the programme, claiming Sim has vastly over-estimated their relationship.