With pressure from Newcastle fans intensifying on Mike Ashley’s running of Newcastle United, many supporters will be looking forward to a TV special tonight.

‘The Secrets of Sports Direct’ is aired at 8pm on Channel 4 this Monday night and sees undercover reporters go behind the scenes to find out the reality of working for Mike Ashley, as well as the allegedly dubious business practices he employs.

In advance of the programme, it has been revealed that only around 300 of the 5,000 staff at the Shirebrook depot have contracts with Sports Direct.

The warehouse uses a ‘Six strikes and you are out’ policy with staff named and shamed over the tannoy if it is believed they are not working quickly enough.

The ‘Strikes’ can be awarded for such serious behaviour as taking too long at the toilet, being off work due to sickness and ‘excessive chatting’.

Sports Direct responded to the ‘Six strikes’ policy with the following:

“The system takes into consideration a worker’s timekeeping, attendance, conduct and performance-target levels. Where a worker falls below the required standards, the reasons will be discussed and support and training provided.”

For those Newcastle, or indeed Rangers, fans who believe there is any upside to Mike Ashley’s involvement at their clubs might like to think again.

Especially those few United fans who cling to the belief that Ashley is suddenly going to reveal that he is some kind of benevolent dictator who will suddenly care about what happens to Newcastle United on the pitch.

Just as he wants to squeeze every last drop out of every one of is zero contract workers and those supplied by agencies, the same is true of his relationship with NUFC.

The life is being squeezed out of our club and if the status quo is maintained, Newcastle will shortly (if not already) be unrecognisable from the club we all fell in love with.

Yesterday brought news that the NUFC Fans Forum has been brought forward to deal with fan concerns but many supporters believe the meeting should only take place if Mike Ashley attends, or else what is the point?

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