Mike Ashley vomited at an alcohol-soaked management meeting, court hears

Helen Cahill
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Ashley arrives at the High Court (Source: Getty)

A High Court case has chucked up some unsavoury details about controversial Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley.

Yesterday, the court heard how the tycoon vomited in a fireplace at an alcohol-fuelled management meeting.

Ashley has been dragged to court over a dispute with Jeffrey Blue, an ex-Merrill Lynch investment banker who is alleging Ashley owes him £15m.

Read more: In case you missed it: here's why Mike Ashley is in the High Court today

Blue is arguing Ashley promised the multi-million pound payout if Blue managed to increase Sports Direct’s share price to £8 per share.

Ashley allegedly made the promise in the London pub, the Horse & Groom, in 2013, but subsequently gave Blue only £1m.

Giving evidence today, Blue described how Ashley would engage in “pub lock-in” management meetings, supposedly plying his top team with booze and kebabs, Bloomberg reported.

The investment banker told the court how at one such session, Ashley allegedly challenged an analyst to a drinking competition, saying they should down pints, followed by a vodka shot, until one of them left the bar.

The analyst managed 12 pints before bowing out, and Ashley promptly vomited into the pub fireplace “to huge applause from his senior management team”.

Several such gatherings of Sports Direct’s top executives took place at the Green Dragon pub in Alfreton, Derbyshire, Blue said.

Barrister Jeffrey Chapman, leader of Blue’s legal team, told the court of how Ashley would nap under tables at meetings he found “boring”.

“Mr Ashley’s business practices fly in the face of business orthodoxy,” Chapman told the judge.

“Sports Direct senior management meetings often took place in bars where considerable volumes of alcohol were consumed while Mr. Ashley made business decisions. The court must decide whether this was just a night in the pub or an important business meeting.”

The case will test to what extent oral agreements are binding.

Read more: Sports Direct agency Transline poised to fall into administration

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