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Archive for tag: Sports Direct and Newcastle United.

What has Newcastle United ever done for Mike Ashley (and Sports Direct)?

June 29th, 2012 | 62 Comments |

Sports Direct sign, St James' Park.
Cheap and nasty.
There has been something of a rehabiltation of the reputation of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United recently.

This, of course, has been due largely to the club’s generally upward trajectory in terms of it’s League position in recent seasons under Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew, as well as some successes in the transfer market since Ashley and Llambias cast their their three casino aquaintances adrift and let Chris Hughton bring in a proper chief scout, a move which has been highly beneficial for the club so far.

Less obviously, perhaps, there has also been a relentless PR campaign run through the media on all levels. Like the current coalition government, much has been said to demonise the previous administration, presenting Ashley as some kind of messiah type figure who made tough choices to save the club from certain liquidation as a great benevolent gesture to the people of Tyneside. But, according to the narrative, this has been a thankless task, with Geordie ingrates not showing the suitable appreciation of his selfless largesse. Admittedly, this isn’t the most difficult thing to do when the targets are the likes of Freddy Shepherd and Douglas Hall. According to a peculiar logic, much has also been made of what Ashley’s alleged financial “backing” of the club in terms of making a £140 million loan to himself, which is repayable on demand by the club, to save himself from paying high interest rates on his own Newcastle United debts. The term “clearing” the club’s debts has been used so often that many fans are still oblivious to the fact that the club is now actually far more in debt than it was when Ashley assumed control of the club in 2007. (more…)