Friday High Five – what’s been in the news this week

Rather fittingly, resilience and the sense to change course were very much key themes at our final event of 2023, as they have been through this week’s news.

Our special guest was Brendan Flood, currently chairman of property developer Cole Waterhouse and the founder of challenger university UCFB (University Campus of Football and Business). His route to where he is now has not been without setbacks and crisis. The financial meltdown of 2008 might seem like a distant memory, but he still bears the scars.

He was honest enough to share with our sell out audience at our Property Lunch that he lost his mojo for a time. But he found an outlet for his obvious talent and appetite for risk in the football world. He enjoyed his time as chairman of Burnley FC, especially the Sean Dyche years, and even invested in Orlando City FC in Florida. The university has created pathways for young people to now work in this booming global sector.  

Being an old fellah like me has its benefits. Seeing these life stories take their twists and turns over decades gives you a different perspective to the smash and grab news machine.

I’m therefore intrigued by Tom and Phil Beahon’s journey with Castore. Well established global sports brands like New Balance and Warrior have had a go at breaking the grip that Nike, Adidas and Puma have over the football kit market, so their progress is nothing short of remarkable.

Equally gripping is the never ending soap opera surrounding THG. Matt Moulding and his former board colleague Angus Monro taking 3% stakes in the activist shareholder Kelso is an act of devilment that may appeal to their love of the drama of business. My thoughts were drawn to two LinkedIn comments, one was from a screenwriting acquaintance who thought it all sounded like a hoot, the other from an experienced private equity figure who simply said: “Fighting the wrong battles”.

And for one reason or another I can’t quite shake another philosophical thought today. Something Tony Wilson once texted me: ‘If you sit by the river for long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.’

Have a great weekend.

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