Former Newcastle United assistant boss sues BBC over “bungs” investigation

Football manager Kevin Bond has launched a legal battle for massive compensation against the BBC.

Bond, 50, currently manager of AFC Bournemouth, claims he was sacked from his job as assistant manager of Newcastle United following a Panorama investigation broadcast in September last year.

The programme examining allegations of bungs, portrayed him in a sinister light, and editorial techniques, of the type used in crime dramas, were included to make the programme appear sensational and hard-hitting, he claims.

The programme has had a catastrophic effect on his life, and he receives regular abuse as a result of the allegations, according to a 41-page High Court writ. It adds that he has been accused of bribing referees, and has had brown envelopes waved at him in a reference to bung allegations.

Now Bond is seeking unlimited compensation for the allegations made about him, which he denies. He values his claim at more than £300,000.

Although as a football manager he expects to be heckled by fans, he is greatly upset that the abuse he received stems from the claims made in the programme, the writ says. Bond says Panorama producers failed to respond to his offer to be interviewed, showed only a bare denial, and misrepresented what he said in a statement, which was probably more damaging, the court will hear.

Bond claims he was the victim of Panorama’s attempt to boost its viewing figures, and that its strategy has been to “dumb it down” and move it to midweek. He plans to refer to the scarcity of the evidence, lack of journalistic rigour and a sensational method of presentation to back up this claim.

The BBC has refused to apologise or retract the allegations, and has refused to go to mediation, he claims. Web pages containing the transcripts of the programmes, and a press release remain accessible and have not been amended to show his libel bid, he alleges.

A former professional player before he started a management career, Bond is seeking damages and aggravated damages, and an injunction banning repetition of the allegations against him.

Bond was sacked on 25 September just days after the programme was broadcast. Although he found a new job, as manager of Bournemouth, the move from a premiership club to a lower league club has resulted in him taking a substantially reduced salary at a far less prestigious club, the court will hear

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