Travel retail off piste: Moodie and Davitt shareholders at war over sporting showdown

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
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Relations between The Moodie Davitt Report business partners Martin Moodie and Dermot Davitt have been strained to breaking point as the result of an impending sporting conflict, we can exclusively reveal.

The two have been long-time colleagues (and fellow shareholders in the company since 2015). But any trace of amicability between the pair is said to have been eroded in the run-up to this week’s big quarter final clash in the Rugby World Cup between Moodie’s native New Zealand – the famous All Blacks – and Davitt’s Ireland.

To help assist his beloved All Blacks, Moodie has enlisted high-level support in the form of US President Donald Trump, with whom he is on close terms. Moodie recently interviewed the US President after his audacious but thwarted attempt to buy the global rights to the duty free industry. President Trump revealed in a tweet overnight (pictured below) that he will support the ‘New Zealish’ team but only if Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern allows the US to acquire the country’s South Island.

Kicking off a (Twitter) storm: The arch dealmaker is at it again. Could the US President influence the Rugby World Cup quarter-final result?

The All Blacks are seeking an unprecedented third successive Rugby World Cup triumph (and fourth in all), but the Irish have beaten them on two of the last three occasions and are confidently expecting another victory at the weekend.

With defeat meaning elimination from the tournament, the surprise quarter final match-up (Ireland had been expected to top their group and thus avoid the All Blacks, but slumped to defeat against the hosts, Japan, in a shock pool upset), the previous banter has turned acrid, according to usually reliable sources within the Moodie Davitt camp.

Moodie (left) and Davitt (right): Business partners and colleagues for many years but their relationship is now on the (try) line

A high-stakes wager, allegedly struck after several pints of Guinness and two bottles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, apparently involves full naming rights for the company, which will revert to its original title The Moodie Report, or become The Davitt Report, depending on the result.

“We’re seriously all hoping for a draw, otherwise it could be the end of the company as we know it,” said one staffer speaking on the grounds of anonymity (and company headquarters in West London).

These exclusive artist’s renderings show the title’s new look in the event of a win for the All Blacks. Eagle-eyed readers will note how, in a subtle design touch, the former ‘Davitt’ reference has been carefully obscured.
However, not to be outdone, one of Galway’s most renowned graphic design teams has revealed the new logo to be adopted if Ireland triumph
A possible flash forward to The Trinity Forum in Doha later this month as Dermot Davitt concedes victory – and (as shown) company naming rights – to his long-term partner

Our special reporter spoke to Moodie and Davitt on the eve of the big game to gauge just how high feelings are running.

Q. Martin, you seem to be taking this weekend’s match very seriously. Isn’t it just a game after all?

Martin Moodie: No, where I come from it’s a matter of life and death. In fact, make that death. If Ireland win, I will kill Dermot. And then myself. But in that order, otherwise it will all go wrong.

Q. I see. And do you think Ireland will win?

Martin Moodie: There is more chance of Cloudy Bay making great Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc out of peated shamrocks, quite frankly. The Irish came unstuck against Japan and frankly all the rest of the glue is about to dissolve too.

Q. I suspect you don’t quite see it that way Dermot?

Dermot Davitt: Indeed not. In fact, the chances of an All Black triumph are about as high as the River Liffey suddenly turning south and flowing through the centre of Auckland, carrying downstream a squad of Irish dancers stepping out in style onboard a Maori war canoe.

I seem to recall Martin was similarly confident in November 2016, when Ireland played the All Blacks on Soldier Field in Chicago. We hadn’t beaten them in 111 years. That all changed on that famous day. 40 to 29, wasn’t it Martin? It was the All Blacks who were dialling 111 for emergency after that.

Martin Moodie: Aye, we got complacent. But we battered you in the return two weeks later in Dublin 21-9. We won’t be complacent this time.

Dermot Davitt: Battered would be right. More than the food in an Irish fish and chip shop. You won’t get away with all those high shots this time. Reckon you’ll have five players sent off by half-time.

Martin Moodie: That should even things up nicely. And we’ll still be too good.

Dermot Davitt: Like 2018, when we beat you again? Two out of three. The form book doesn’t lie.

Martin Moodie: That was on a cold miserable day in Dublin when the pitch was like treading through a peat bog. This weekend the ground will be hard, the weather hot. The Irish will need oxygen masks and a few pints of Guinness by half time.

Dermot Davitt: They’ll have the Guinness alright but only when they’re celebrating after the match. It’s going to be great craic.

Martin Moodie: The only cracks will be great big ones in the Irish defence.

Q. I thought your Mum was Irish Martin? She must be turning in her grave to hear you speak like this.

Martin Moodie: That’s ok, I’ve spun her around so she’s facing south.

Q. Dermot, what’s the key to an Irish victory?

Dermot Davitt: Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton. They’ll control the game with their kicking and put the All Blacks under relentless pressure. Which they hate as they’re not used to it. Their free-running game is not much good without the ball. Just like the native Kiwi bird. Frightened and flightless.

Q. Same question to you Martin.

Martin Moodie. Key to an Irish victory? Food poisoning throughout the All Blacks camp. It’s happened before you know in a World Cup. All the chefs and waitresses at the All Blacks hotel are all being screened for links to Ireland. They found one last week in their Tokyo hotel restaurant going under the alias of Sushi O’Brien. And a really tall chef called Devin Tuna freelancing there in case he got a call-up to the Irish squad. You can’t be too careful.

Q. No, I meant the key to an All Blacks victory.

Martin Moodie: Ah. Well there’s 15 of them. But I’ll give you just one. Beauden Barrett. He is the most talented player on the planet, to rugby what Rudolf Nureyev was to ballet except more graceful. I’m sorry but 15 men in green doing a poor impersonation of Riverdance while wearing rugby boots won’t cut it.

Q. Five great things about New Zealand?

Martin Moodie: Sir Edmund Hillary, first man to climb Mount Everest. Saint Richie McCaw, sanctified so much in New Zealand they think he may be nominated as the next Pope. We also gave the world Kiri te Kanawa, finest soprano in the history of the world – the Irish gave it Val Doonican. My case rests! And then there’s Jacinda Ardern, the world’s most intelligent and humane politician. Did I mention Richie McCaw?

Q. Yes.

Martin Moodie: Ok then… Sir Peter Jackson. He’s making a movie about this match. Something about all the rings the All Blacks will run around Ireland

Q. Dermot, five great things about Ireland?

Dermot Davitt: William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets to tread this earth. James Joyce, among the 20th century’s most influential authors. Michael Collins, Irish revolutionary, politician and poet. Paul O’Connell, man mountain and rugby legend. And, of course, Colm McLoughlin, modern-day travel retail statesman. Oh… and we invented duty free, thus granting you employment for several decades.

Martin Moodie: That’s actually six. But that’s ok. We can afford to give you some points in.

Q. Not bad, both of you. So, what’s your prediction for the weekend?

Dermot Davitt: Ireland by 25 to 15. And then we’ll hammer the English in the semis.

Martin Moodie: The All Blacks 35 to 16. And then we’ll hammer the Aussies in the semis.

Q: Ok may the best team win.

Dermot Davitt and Martin Moodie (together): We will!

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