Simon Jordan

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Simon Jordan
Born (1967-09-24) 24 September 1967 (age 46)
Thornton Heath
Nationality English
Occupation Crystal Palace F.C. Chairman (2000–2010)

Simon Jordan (born 24 September 1967) is an English businessman who made his fortune in the mobile phone industry. In 2000 he purchased Crystal Palace Football Club and remained chairman of the club until they entered administration in early 2010.

Early life[edit]

At 16, Jordan joined Palace and then Chelsea on schoolboy forms, but his career never took off, and Chelsea released him when he was sixteen. He has described himself as being "good enough to be a professional, but mentally I wasn't interested. You often get players who have bags of talent, but not the required application. I was one of them.".[1] All this happened whilst he was at Purley High School for Boys in Old Coulsdon. His father Peter Jordan used to play for Crystal Palace F.C., although never appeared for the first team.

In the late 1980s or early 1990s he was invited by a friend, James Wright, to join him in his business, Wright Connections, selling mobiles via adverts placed in the Loot and Exchange and Mart. Jordan and Wright rented an office from Delta 5, another mobile phone dealer, and the business lasted for a short time before changing its name to Corporate Cellular Ltd (CCL). This business was not considered to be a great success either and Jordan left in the early 1990s, presumably to work for the Carphone Warehouse.

In 1994, Jordan and Andrew Briggs set up their own mobile phone retail company called the Pocket Phone Shop. They started with £30,000 and a 3,500 sq ft (330 m2) unit in Slough, and after forming an agreement with service provider Astec, the business flourished.

By 2000, the Pocket Phone Shop had 167 outlets nationwide, employed 660 staff and was forecasting a turnover of £52m for the 1999/00 financial year. Pocket Phone Shop was seen as one of the main rivals in its sector to leader The Carphone Warehouse - the organisation that Jordan and Briggs both worked for before launching their own venture.

At its peak the Pocket Phone Shop enlisted the services of Ulrika Jonsson to promote its new store openings, but the relationship turned sour when Jordan sued Jonsson claiming she had not fulfilled her promotional activities. It is unknown what the outcome of this action was. Despite the Pocket Phone Shop venture being successful, Jordan's first forays into the mobile phone business were not.

Crystal Palace[edit]

Jordan and Briggs left Pocket Phone Shop in 2000 after selling the company to One2One for £73m. That year, Singapore financier Jerry Lim bought Crystal Palace Football Club, a club that had been hours from extinction, from the administrators, and immediately sold the club to Jordan, aged 32. Jordan immediately appointed himself chairman, making him the youngest chairman of a Football League club. Having been born "100 yards from the ground"[2] Jordan had been a lifelong fan, and he noted "I have achieved exactly what I set out to do, and that is to be Chairman of Crystal Palace. I have been prepared to put my money into something I truly believe in, and my first job is to turn the fortunes of this club around." Jordan also vowed that the club would be promoted to the Premiership, within five years. However, despite owning the club, Jordan did not own the ground. That belonged to Ron Noades, who had been chairman until 1998. It was the sale of the club from Noades to Mark Goldberg that eventually led to the club going into administration, and therefore it was natural that Jordan appeared not to have much time for Noades.

During his time as Palace chairman, Jordan also helped to set up a USA Academy, which is known as Crystal Palace Baltimore, and has supported former Palace captain Geoff Thomas in his work to raise money for first Leukaemia Research and then his own charity, "The Geoff Thomas Foundation". Jordan appeared for a "Geoff Thomas Foundation Charity XI" in the first ever match at the new Wembley Stadium, against a team of celebrities, scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win after Mark Bright had opened the scoring.

Jordan caused a storm in July 2008 by announcing his plans to sell the club and move away from football altogether, stating he had "been disillusioned with football for a long time".[3] This occurred after Palace had found centre-stage once again following a Football Association tribunal's decision on the John Bostock transfer to Tottenham Hotspur left Jordan to declare "It's a panel of halfwits". Palace were awarded only £700k, having valued Bostock at £5m.

No potential buyers came forward to make a bid for Palace, and the club have become embroiled in deep financial trouble. Rumours persist of personal financial difficulties as Jordan faced "cashflow" problems relating to wage payments at the club in November and December 2009.[4] On 26 January 2010 Crystal Palace went into administration and Jordan's ownership came to an end.

Managers[edit]

Jordan gained a reputation as a manager-killer early in his Palace reign, though this changed as his reign progressed. Between 2000 and 2003 no fewer than the following five managers departed the manager's post: Steve Coppell (August 2000), Alan Smith (April 2001), Steve Bruce (November 2001), Trevor Francis (April 2003), and Steve Kember (November 2003). Of these, only Coppell and Bruce left of their own accord, with Coppell's departure brought about by a personality clash[5] and Bruce's resignation leading to a high court case.[6]

Iain Dowie was appointed in December 2003 and the club bounded up the table from the relegation zone to win promotion in May 2004, beating West Ham United at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in the play-off final, fulfilling Jordan's promise of promotion within five years. However, the club remained in the Premier League for just one season before being narrowly relegated in 2005. In May 2006, having accepted Dowie and Jordan had differences but the same goal, Dowie left the club by mutual consent.[7] However, towards the end of the month Dowie joined Charlton Athletic as their new manager, prompting Jordan to issue a legal writ against him,[8] claiming Dowie had lied about his reasons for departure.

Peter Taylor, an ex-Palace player was installed on 13 June 2006. However, his reign would last just 16 months, ending on 8 October 2007 with the sack. Jordan stated he wanted Taylor to be remembered as a good player for Palace rather than a bad manager. On 11 October at a press conference he unveiled Neil Warnock as the new manager, which failed to surprise many as the two were reported to be good friends. Jordan's choice appeared to have been a good one, since the club embarked on a superb run of form that saw them move from the relegation places into the 2007–08 season play-offs, but the relationship between the pair ended in a dispute after Warnock left the club to join Queens Park Rangers following the Eagles' entering administration.[9]

Dowie Court Case[edit]

Jordan succeeded in his High Court battle against Dowie, with The Hon. Mr Justice Tugendhat ruling that Dowie had lied when negotiating his way out of his contract at Palace. Dowie won the right to appeal against that decision, leading to it being heard in the Court of Appeal. In April 2008, Crystal Palace F.C settled out of court with Iain Dowie, and issued the following statement.

"Prior to appeal being heard a mutually satisfactory settlement of all matters has now been reached on terms acceptable to Crystal Palace Football Club"[10]

Selhurst Park[edit]

In October 2006, Jordan gave supporters an announcement that had been eagerly awaited since he took over, that on 6 October, he had purchased the freehold to Selhurst Park from Ron Noades for £12m, using an investment mechanism that kept his identity secret. He claimed the obfuscation had been necessary due to the "very, very difficult" relationship he has with Noades.[11] Palace are now seen to be safe for the future.[12] It later transpired that the freehold had been bought by the company Selhurst Park Limited, which was owned by another company. A maze of ownership finally showed the legal ownership being 60% Paul Kemsley and 40% a venture capital company owned by HBOS. Simon Jordan has since offered the freehold for sale with the intention of taking back a long lease on the property. Simon Jordan's exact position on the freehold was unknown, although Jordan later agreed a 25 year lease for Selhurst Park.[13] Selhurst Park Limited later went into administration (separate from Crystal Palace Football Club's own administration), leading to the stadium being purchased by the CPFC 2010 consortium, led by Steve Parish at the same time as the consortium buying Crystal Palace F.C.

Career as a columnist[edit]

As of the 2005-06 season, Jordan wrote a fortnightly column for The Observer newspaper. A particular column, written by Jordan,[14] led to him being charged by the Football Association with bringing the game into disrepute.[15] The case was heard on 7 December 2005 with a charge of improper conduct proven.[16] Jordan was given a suspended fine of £10,000. But, backed by other journalists and by media advisor Max Clifford,[17] Jordan indicated his intention to appeal, stating "I didn't start this fight, but it's not something I'm going to walk away from."[18] His appeal was heard on 10 April, and was rejected by the three member panel, two votes to one. Jordan commented in his 16 March column in The Observer that he and his advisors were "now considering taking this through the courts. Any legal action I take won't be about wasting time or resources on a petty point of principle - it'd be an attempt to see the whole thing unravel."

Jordan also used the column to highlight the inconsistencies in the F.A. disciplinary panel. The same panel decided no disciplinary action would be taken against Paul Jewell, manager of Wigan, who had been charged on the basis of making comments similar to Jordan's. Jordan described the compliance process as being "based on mood", noting: "There's no frame of reference, no consistency - and, yes, it's personal. It amounts to me not being able to say a referee is incompetent while others can, using the same language."Jordan, Simon (16 April 2006). "Shameless angst of papers who promote gambling". London: The Observer. 

Whilst awaiting the outcome of the appeal, it appeared as though the events were having an effect upon him, as on 26 February 2006 it was reported by The News of the World newspaper that Jordan was tired of being chairman, and wanted to go back to being a regular fan. He has since reported in his 5 March 2006 Observer column that he was misquoted and that he had simply restated what he had said eight months before, that "I don't plan to stay at Palace or in football all my life. I'd like to return to the stands 'as quickly as possible', but I won't sell until I've secured a sound legacy - Premiership football and a new ground"[19]

Jordan did not continue writing for the Observer in the 2006–07 season.

Television work[edit]

Aside from appearances in football-related programmes, Jordan's first major TV appearance was in early 2007, appearing in Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway for ITV along with fellow millionaires the Ann Summers managing director Jacqueline Gold (daughter of West Ham chairman David Gold, a personal enemy of Jordan's); entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne; MOBO Awards founder Kanya King; and former Conservative Member of Parliament-turned-novelist Jeffrey Archer.

Film production[edit]

In 2008, Simon Jordan produced the film Telstar based on the play about the life of record producer, Joe Meek.

Author[edit]

In 2012 Simon Jordan published an account of his life, "Be Careful What You Wish For". The book recounts his business success in the cellular phone business, but mostly focuses on his time as chairman of Crystal Palace Football Club.

Personal life[edit]

It was reported by the Daily Mirror's website in January 2006 that Jordan had bought girlfriend Meg Mathews (the former wife of Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher) a Porsche worth £100,000 for Christmas, along with a personalised number plate, and that the couple had been together since July 2005. However Jordan gave details of the ending of this relationship in March 2006, admitting that it had been Mathews who had ended the relationship, while attacking the News of the World, which had reported that Jordan had "ditched Mathews" the week before. Jordan wrote of the matter in his Observer column, "the piece belittled someone who has been very important to me over the last nine months."[20]

In June 2006, it was reported that Jordan's ex-girlfriend Tara Stout, 36, posed in a Union Jack bikini and high heels, then put on tiny shorts and a revealing top to face Bow Street Magistrates Court in Central London over a case regarding Jordan.[21] The pair also faced each other in court in October of that year, when Stout was found guilty of harassing Jordan.[22] It was reported in the Sunday Mirror's showbiz section "Radar" in September 2006 that model Sophie Anderton was dating Jordan[23] Jordan used to go out with Sarah Bosnich, the ex-wife of Sophie's former flame Mark Bosnich.

In June 2007, it was announced that Suzi Walker, the estranged Page Three wife of Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Ian Walker, was pregnant with Jordan's child. The pregnancy was unplanned, but the couple having dated for eight months were delighted.[24] The baby, a girl called Cameron, was born in January 2008.

Jordan, who currently lives in Marbella, is also the father of Alicia Douvall's baby daughter Papaya.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fidler, Chris (April 14, 2006). "Jordan: why I waved goodbye to football". South London Press. 
  2. ^ "Guardian Unlimited Football : Columnists : Being a stiff in a suit just isn't me". The Guardian (London). 21 August 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Jordan will quit Palace next year". BBC Sport. 16 July 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "New wage delay for Palace players". BBC Sport. 2 January 2010. Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Jordan has stated "Steve Coppell and I just didn't get on" (i), and Coppell has stated "I didn't feel comfortable with Simon Jordan and neither did he with me."(ii)
  6. ^ "Palace put brakes on Bruce". BBC Sport. 22 November 2001. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Boss Dowie leaves post at Palace". BBC Sport. 22 May 2006. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Palace take action against Dowie". BBC Sport. 30 May 2006. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Simon Jordan: 'Warnock only went to QPR for the money'". The Mirror. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  10. ^ "Palace settles dispute with Dowie". BBC. 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  11. ^ "CHAIRMAN'S THOUGHTS". CPFC.CO.UK. 11 October 2006. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Fletch (10 October 2006). "Palace safe with Mr Flash". BBC Sport. 
  13. ^ "Long-term Palace lease revealed". BBC Sport. 17 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  14. ^ Jordan, Simon (7 August 2005). "Guardian Unlimited Football : Columnists : Increased control needed for agents". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Hills, David (25 September 2005). "Guardian Unlimited Football : News : Football: Observer's Jordan faces FA charge". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Jordan charge proven". FA. 7 December 2005. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "Press Gazette: Max Clifford column". Press Gazette. 9 December 2005. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Jordan, Simon. "Guardian Unlimited Football : Columnists : Football: So who is Barry Bright?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 October 2013. .
  19. ^ Jordan, Simon (5 March 2006). "Guardian Unlimited Football : Columnists : Football: Just one thing wrong with tabloid stories - the facts". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Jordan, Simon (March 5, 2006). "Just one thing wrong with tabloid stories - the facts". London: The Observer. 
  21. ^ "Football girls strip". The Sun (London). 17 May 2007. 
  22. ^ "Reporter harassed football boss". BBC News. October 6, 2006. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  23. ^ Sunday Mirror
  24. ^ Wheeler, Virginia (12 June 2007). "Tycoon expecting Crystal bawls". The Sun (London). 
Business positions
Preceded by
Peter Morley
Crystal Palace F.C. chairman
2000 – 2010
Succeeded by
Martin Long
Steve Parish