Ronnie draws Jones into JJB conflict

FORMER JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie yesterday hit back at his former employer in a desperate bid to clear his own name and muddy the reputation of executive chairman Sir David Jones. <br /><br />In an email circulated to the press Ronnie said that he and Jones had been working on taking the retailer private last year. <br /><br />This latest twist in the sportswear retailer&rsquo;s pantomime saga is a bid by Ronnie to show he and Jones were far closer than the retailer likes to suggest. In an email replying to Ronnie last year about his concerns Jones wrote: &ldquo;I am very sorry to hear that you believe that &lsquo;I am undermining you&rsquo;, I consider my support has been considerable since I came on the board.&rdquo;<br /><br />It is believed that Ronnie and Jones had discussed taking JJB Sports private in spring 2008 with the backing of Icelandic bank Kaupthing. At the time of the email Jones was still a non-executive director at the retailer. A source close to the situation yesterday&nbsp; said it was nothing more than &ldquo;a pipe dream&rdquo;.<br /><br />Before the plot had the chance to succeed the Icelandic banking crisis hit. It sent Ronnie&rsquo;s fortunes into a steep nose-dive after his 27.5 per cent stake was&nbsp; seized.<br /><br />Jones was parachuted in as executive chairman in January, and Ronnie was eventually fired for &ldquo;gross misconduct&rdquo; without receiving a pay-off.<br /><br /><strong>CHRIS RONNIE- FORMER JJB CHIEF EXECUTIVE<br />8 JULY 2009<br /></strong><strong></strong>JJB was a tremendous opportunity for me. Why would I want to destroy something I have invested millions in?<br />I did not make these decisions on my own &ndash; they were given full board approval and directors were updated constantly. I brought David in to be my mentor on the corporate side; he was very involved in the day-to-day running of the business and had a full understanding of where it was going.<br /><br /><strong>SIR DAVID JONES - EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF JJB SPORTS<br /></strong><strong>8 MARCH 2008<br /></strong>I have taken you on trust that we will take this business private, that I will have a share of the action and we will all live happily ever after.<br /><br /><strong>15 JUNE 2009</strong><br />A series of bad business decisions taken by former members of the executive management team and the worsening economic environment brought the Company dangerously close to insolvency.<br />