New Charlton boss Iain Dowie could be faced with a £1m (€1.5m) compensation claim from his former employers Crystal Palace.
Both Dowie and Charlton insist that prior to leaving Selhurst Park no discussions had taken place with the Addicks, who were seeking a successor to long-serving manager Alan Curbishley.
However, according to Eagles chairman Simon Jordan, Dowie made it clear the major reason he wanted to be released from his obligations at Palace was the continuing travelling back up to the north-west to visit his family.
Dowie had a compensation clause in his contract which meant if he left for another club they would have to pay Palace £1m (€1.5m).
Jordan had, though, agreed to waive the clause – and it is this that prompted the Eagles chairman to take action for “fraudulent statements about his reasons for leaving the club”.
A court representative attempted to serve the writ on Dowie during yesterday’s press conference at The Valley, but was prevented from doing so before eventually completing his obligation later in the afternoon.
Mark Buckley, partner in City law firm Fladgate Fielder, confirmed: “We have been instructed by Crystal Palace to issue proceedings against Iain Dowie relating to fraudulent misrepresentation to the reasons that he gave Simon Jordan for seeking an early release from his contract as manager of Crystal Palace. The reasons he gave were that he wanted to move to be nearer to his family.
“What we are seeking in the claim is to set aside the compensation agreement that Mr Jordan was induced to sign as a result of the statements by Mr Dowie.
“Crystal Palace would not issue such a claim without there being some underlying evidence. Crystal Palace are quite confident of their claim.”
There is certainly no love lost between Charlton chairman Richard Murray and Jordan, the pair involved in a heated dispute following Palace’s relegation at The Valley on the final day of the 2004-05 season.
Murray thought it was a “joke” following the disruption to yesterday’s press conference.
Jordan, however, intends to pursue the matter through the legal system, and is set to seek financial redress, with Charlton last night instructing their lawyers to defend the action against Dowie.
Murray commented: “We all know that Simon is a good businessman. I am sure if the reason Iain was leaving was for his family to go up north, he would have put that in the contract. If he did not, then maybe Simon has not had the best advice.
Murray added: “What amazes me about Simon is that he writes about me in the papers, maybe he should just pick up the phone and talk to me about it.”
Addicks chief executive Peter Varney added: “Iain and our club have acted with the utmost integrity throughout the recent interview and appointment process. What we witnessed today was nothing more than a sad and pathetic publicity stunt.”
Dowie, meanwhile, would not be drawn into a war of words with his former chairman – but insisted he had acted properly.
“I am not going to let it sour a good day for me,” said the 41-year-old, who will head up a new three-man coaching team with Les Reed, the former director of technical development at the Football Association, and ex-Addicks winger Mark Robson.
“If that is what he feels, then that is what he feels – but it totally misrepresents the conversation I had with Simon and, to be fair, my wife witnessed two hours of it.
“I know I have got an agreement at home which says it was by mutual consent and I can live with myself, I can look him in the eye so that is all I can do. As long as I can cover myself in the right way and that is all I ever worried about.”