IS A setback in the offing for the self-styled “Red Knights”, the group of City businessmen plotting to seize control of Manchester United from current owners, the Glazer family?
The Capitalist only asks having chanced upon another, very different, group bearing the same name while trawling the Internet yesterday.
Actually, the moniker belongs to a raft of other organisations, but one in particular stands out – the Red Knights Motorcycle Club, based over in the States, which claims to have trademarked the name and has previously successfully sued a German company for infringing upon its rights.
Club treasurer Leo Patry is intrigued to discover news of the UK “soccer” spat when I call to find out his views on the actions of Goldman chief economist Jim O’Neill, Seymour Pierce boss Keith Harris et al.
“I am aware of a company called the Red Knights which makes axe handles, but we felt that wasn’t really encroaching on our territory,” Patry drawls, “but if this campaign is gaining a lot of publicity then it may well create a problem for us…”
He goes on to say that the club will “definitely be following up on it” with its legal advisers over in Miami, particularly as one of the applications currently pending for an overseas chapter of the biker Red Knights is – as luck would have it – in Manchester.
Watch this space.
Fans of horseracing will be eagerly awaiting the Cheltenham Festival, coming up the week after next – the start of an action packed season that continues with the Epsom Downs Spring Meeting in April.
The Epsom meeting received a bit of a boost yesterday as it emerged that banking group Investec has extended its sponsorship at the racecourse, after last year becoming the headline backer for the Derby in June.
Investec – which boasts a seasoned horsey contingent headed by managing director Bernard Kantor (right), himself a racehorse owner – says it wants to increase the profile of the event to make it into a key Derby trial.
Which shouldn’t be too difficult, given that the bank has seen fit to reach into its deep pockets to increase the prize money for the day’s races from £20,000 to £30,000. Bonus season is well and truly here.
Trivia of the week comes courtesy of the alumni magazine for Dartmouth university in the States – namely, the reason why former US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson has a rather unsightly mangled little finger on his left hand.
According to the magazine’s interview, the finger was a casualty of Paulson’s days as an offensive linesman in the college’s American football team.
“I’ve forgotten which game, but on one play this finger went out this way. This other one, that way. The team doctor pulled them out, put some tape around them and sent me right back out there,” Paulson shrugs.
After leading an innovative Plow Monday service to bless the City’s laptops, phones and BlackBerrys not so long ago, I hear Reverend David Parrott – the vicar of St Lawrence Jewry church next to Guildhall – is now spearheading another drive to foster the faith of his parishioners in the City.
Apparently, a group of City churches are working together to help people reflect on the period of Lent in a new way, showing film clips and hosting discussions every Tuesday evening (the next is at 6pm on Tuesday at St Lawrence Jewry).
“The Bank churches group is keen to be at the forefront of helping those in the City of London to reflect on the deeper meaning of their lives,” Parrott tells me.
Perhaps Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein might like to go along, given his penchant for doing God’s work?
Vince Stanzione, the investment adviser who was last week forced into an embarrassing U-turn after he claimed investment guru Jim Rogers believed sterling would collapse within weeks, is up to his old publicity-seeking tricks again.
“My advice to [German chancellor Angela] Merkel is that the eurozone should kick Greece out,” shouts Stanzione eagerly, in a press release yesterday. All these contrarian views couldn’t have anything to do with the trading day seminar he’s organising later in the month, could they?
LONG WAY DOWN
Finally, good luck this morning to hardened real estate veteran John McLean, the chief executive of luxury housebuilder Fairfax Properties, who will be launching himself off the 200ft Capital Tower in Waterloo at 11am. Luckily for him, it’s not a base jump but an abseil in aid of the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) – though he’s taking four co-workers and ten City chums down the side of the building with him.
“I’m fine with heights so I am quite lucky – though I was walking along a cliff the other day and kept testing myself to check for vertigo,” he tells me. “It did look like a long way down…”