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Archive for category: Mike Ashley.

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?

(more…)


Sports Direct get free advertising, but what about Dunlop, Firetrap, Cruise etc?

November 6th, 2013 | 61 Comments |

NUFC Blog on metro.co.uk
NUFC Blog on metro.co.uk
My latest story on metro.co.uk is now up!

As is usual with the Metro, it now has a veritable cornucopia of titles chosen my their crack team of headline writers, sub-eds or whatever. However, my original title for it was the same as this piece, ie “Sports Direct get free advertising, but what about Dunlop, Firetrap, Cruise etc?” so I’ll stick with that one here.

On the piece itself, well we all know that Sports Direct don’t pay anything for all the advertising at St James’ Park and the club’s Benton training ground. However, some of you who might not follow Mike Ashley’s ever expanding business empire quite as closely as I do may not know that there are several other Sports Direct sub-brands such as Dunlop, Firetrap and Cruise who are also advertising at St James’ Park on a fairly regular basis. (more…)