Matt Scott: What Adidas's row with Sports Direct tells us about the direction for sport

"In one way the constant battling was very good because what it did was make them very competitive. Horst and his family were all very aggressive and all very successful." Former Horst Dassler aide Patrick Nally, as quoted by Andrew Jennings and Vyv Simson, The Lords of the Rings.

As the president of Adidas, Horst Dassler was until his death in 1987 arguably the most powerful man in sport. One-third of "The Club", a secret troika involving the then International Olympic Committee chairman, Juan Antonio Samaranch, and the then FIFA president, João Havelange, he was described by his close associate, Nally, as "the puppet-master of the sporting world".

Power never evolves without conflict and indeed Adidas's German sportswear rival Puma was born of an almighty argument - between Horst's father, the Adidas founder, Adolf, and his brother (Horst's uncle), Rudolf. Aggression has been in Adidas's DNA since the very earliest phase of its development.