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Archive for category: Club Policies and Politics.

Why Ashley leaving Toon for the Champions League with Rangers is nonsense

January 27th, 2015 | 32 Comments |

Mike Ashley boxing
Mike Ashley: A heavyweight who’s always up for a fight
With Mike Ashley’s recent attempts to take over at Rangers, and specifically his problems with the Scottish FA for having an interest in both clubs, it has often been said recently that Mike Ashley would be willing to leave Newcastle United so he can take over Rangers completely. There have been several hypotheses put forward for why he might do this

Champions League exposure for Sports Direct?

One which makes no sense at all is that Ashley would be willing to sacrifice Newcastle United and the English Premier League to expose his cheap sports goods in that great league of leagues, the Champions League. This would be once Rangers get through the small formalities of getting promoted back to the Scottish Premiership and then beating Celtic to win the Scottish Premiership title. This one is a complete non-starter though as there are two crucial things the proponents of this hypothesis have overlooked.

1. As both Newcastle United and Rangers fans should know from previous European competition, Rangers or any other side are only allowed to display advertising for their shirt sponsors and kit sponsors. There could be no pitch side hoardings or anything else emblazoned with cheap Ashley brands like Sports Direct, Firetrap and all the rest. Only UEFA sponsorship partners are allowed to advertise in both the Europa and Champions League competitions. (more…)


Bashing the Bishop: Newcastle United, Derek Llambias and the Z-list PR guru

October 22nd, 2014 | 120 Comments |

Mike Ashley and Keith Bishop.
“That’s another fine mess…”
Most Newcastle United fans are now familiar with the sight of Newcastle United’s PR consultant, Keith Bishop, who seems to have become a permanent figure at the right hand side of Mike Ashley. But who is he? And how did Keith Bishop PR get the job despite being a small celebrity PR company that would be totally out of its depth with a large Premier League club? Finally, what does former Newcastle United managing Director Derek Llambias have to do with all this? Below are a few answers.

First to correct a few possible misconceptions from the local media though.

Keith Bishop PR has been described as “one of London’s most well-known PR agencies” by Mark Douglas in local newspaper, the Chronicle. In reality it is more of a C-Z list celebrity PR outfit than a proper PR company like Bell Pottinger, Edelman, Ogilvy PR and others who are commonly retained by top companies, including large Premier League football clubs. Bishop is more like a poor man’s Max Clifford, more suited to representing celebrity has beens and wanabees than a large Premier League football club. When asked by ‘Features Exec’ in April 2013 “Who are some of KBA’s most well-known, or respected clients?” he replied “Newcastle United, Glasgow Rangers F.C., Flavia Cacace, Kristina Rhianoff and a few soap stars!” Other top clients of Bishop are Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers (he’s still going!), Sven’s ex, Nancy Dell’Olio, Pat ‘the mullet’ Sharp and Lord Brocket from “I’m a Celebrity”, North East Sky Sports reporter David Craig and Gary Newbon. The figures of Keith Bishop PR also indicate it is a quite a small time operation too. Whilst it is true that Bishop can also boast of having Leeds United and Rangers on his books, like Newcastle, they are also something of a PR disaster area at the moment. (more…)


Is Ashley planning Udinese style selling club network at Newcastle, Rangers and Oldham?

October 16th, 2014 | 23 Comments |

Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo.
Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo.
Is Mike Ashley using Giampaolo Pozzo’s selling club network of Udinese, Granada and Watford as a model for Newcastle United, Rangers and Oldham?

To begin at the beginning though, let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane. In the aftermath of Kevin Keegan’s acrimonious departure from Newcastle United in 2008, an under fire Mike Ashley made a statement. In this, among other things, he attempted to outline what subsequently became known as his ‘Arsenal model‘ for the club. In Ashley’s own words:

“My plan and my strategy for Newcastle is different. It has to be. Arsenal is the shining example in England of a sustainable business model. It takes time. It can’t be done overnight. Newcastle has therefore set up an extensive scouting system. We look for young players, for players in foreign leagues who everyone does not know about. We try and stay ahead of the competition. We search high and low looking for value, for potential that we can bring on and for players who will allow Newcastle to compete at the very highest level but who don’t cost the earth.” (more…)


What was Newcastle United’s £498,000 payment to Sports Direct for?

November 21st, 2013 | 47 Comments |

NUFC in Sports Direct's 2013 annual report.
Exhibit A.
Firstly, I should declare that this piece was originally inspired by another, one of several on Newcastle United’s finances by a brace of accountants who also happen to be Toon fans in the latest issue of fanzine, ‘True Faith.’ It’s a very good read.

Of course, it has been known for quite some time that Sports Direct don’t pay a brass farthing for all the extensive worldwide publicity they get from Newcastle United. This was something which was finally confirmed by the club’s financial director, John Irving, at the first ‘Fans’ Forum’ meeting between representatives of the fans, the club, and sponsors, Wronga.

However it certainly less well known that although Newcastle United have been paid the square root of b*ggerall for all those vulgar signs, they actually had to PAY Sports Direct half a million pounds in 2012-13 as shown in SD’s 2013 Annual Report (page 90 under “Related Party Transactions”). Here you will see that Sports Direct received a payment of £498,000 from “Connected Persons,” Newcastle United Football Club. (more…)


Have ‘Time4Change’ lost their chance to seize the day?

November 17th, 2013 | 74 Comments |

NUFC Blog on metro.co.uk
NUFC Blog on metro.co.uk
My latest piece on metro.co.uk was published earlier today.

Entitled ‘Have two Newcastle United victories cost ‘Time4Change’ their momentum?,’ as you might have guessed from the title, it takes a look at the Newcastle United ‘Time4Change’ movement.

In the piece I ask if they are now in danger of losing their momentum after their first march almost a month ago, which made more of an impact than they might have imagined due to Mike Ashley’s childish and ludicrous overreaction to their little stroll through Newcastle before the game with Liverpool on 19th October.

You can find it by following the link below.

Have two Newcastle United victories cost ‘Time4Change’ their momentum?

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