The protests against Mike Ashley at today’s Sports Direct AGM, were always going to be more symbolic than any real hope of removing him from his post of Executive Vice-Chairman.

Despite a number of high profile shareholders declaring in advance of the meeting that they would oppose Ashley’s re-election, the Newcastle United owner comfortably got through the vote.

Only 12% voted against Mike Ashley with 88% of the votes cast in his favour.

Whilst Chairman Keith Hellawell’s re-election saw only 8.5% supporting his removal.

The Annual General Meeting at its Derbyshire HQ also saw demonstrations outside, as well as dozens around the country, against Mike Ashley and the running of Sports Direct  to coincide with the meeting.

Protests were planned outside Sports Direct stores with up to 40 targeted, including the one on Northumberland Street in Newcastle.

Protestors dressed as Dickensian workers to demand an end to ‘Victorian’ work practices and the payment of a living wage of £7.85 per hour. With the Sports Direct model continuing to be based on employing over 75% (at least 15,000 people) of employees on zero hour contracts.

Mike Ashley’s re-election to the board was challenged after he failed to attend four board meetings, with concerns also raised about the company’s bonus scheme for senior staff, as well as a belief that Ashley runs Sports Direct with a few close allies – paying little notice to the board and corporate governance.