Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside has been summonsed to appear in front of magistrates to answer allegations of perjury and fraud, along with the club's former manager Sammy Lee, the ex-player Gavin McCann and some of the more influential agents in the business, in what could be, if it proceeds, one of the biggest court cases of its kind in the sport.
Gartside is summonsed to answer five allegations of perjury and one of fraud while the club has also been summonsed to appear in court next month in relation to allegations of making “numerous false and representational contracts” in June and July 2007.
Lee, who was Bolton’s manager at the time and is now a member of the coaching staff at Southampton, is summonsed in relation to four allegations of perjury relating to his time at the Championship club. McCann, whose career included spells at Bolton, Everton, Sunderland and Aston Villa must answer four allegations of perjury and one of fraud. Frank McParland, previously Bolton’s director of football, will hear four allegations of perjury when the matter begins at Newcastle magistrates’ court on February 25th.
McParland, now in the same role at Brentford, was Liverpool's chief scout from 2003 to 2007 and returned to the club in 2009 when Rafael Benitez asked him to oversee a major overhaul of the club's academy.
The case relates to a protracted legal battle brought by the football agent Tony McGill, in which he claims he was cut out of the £1m deal when Bolton signed McCann from Villa in 2007. McGill was suing in the original case for £300,000, claiming that Bolton brought in the sports agency SEM at “the last minute” to take the deal off him. He lost the case at Manchester Civil Justice Centre last September, having not had a binding contract with McCann, but the judge’s findings described him as “basically credible.”
McGill is now attempting to bring a private prosecution and court summonses have been issued to 11 individuals. Simon Marland, Bolton's long-serving secretary, is summonsed to answer five allegations of perjury and one of fraud. Jerome Anderson, the chief executive of SEM and one of the most powerful agents in the industry, is summonsed on four allegations of perjury and one of fraud. He had no comment when contacted by The Guardian on Friday night. Three of his colleagues of that time have also been summonsed. Dave Sheron will answer four allegations of perjury. Five are listed against Jeff Weston along with one allegation of fraud. Steve Horner is summonsed on two perjury allegations. SEM, based in Barnet, will hear one one allegation of fraud.
Gartside, who had no comment when contacted by the Guardian on Friday, joined the Bolton board and became the chairman in 1999 when Sam Allardyce was appointed manager. He has also had a place on the Wembley board and was put in charge of the Football Association's selection process when David Bernstein was made chairman.