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Mike Ashley Challenged To Run Newcastle United Like Sports Direct

8 years ago
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I don’t think there is anything strange in saying that Mike Ashley is a genius when it comes to running Sports Direct and its connected empire, yet has made a total mess of Newcastle United. To go from nothing to employing 23,000 people (directly) over at SD and he’s still younger than me!

With the economy on its knees, Ashley is a massive success story and based on only the finances and number of employees, Newcastle United’s owner could feel quite rightly miffed that he isn’t Sir Michael Ashley already! How many English businessmen currently employ more people than Ashley in a business they have started from scratch?

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When it comes to Newcastle United, I do feel that Mike Ashley continues to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It is not that he’s not bothered, it is just that he hasn’t got time to be bothered. In terms of turnover, NUFC are small potato when it comes to his overall business empire.

If Ashley suddenly devoted a lot of time and energy to Newcastle then we would be a success, simple as.

He knows that it would be time (and resources) intensive to do that and so has made a conscious decision to just try and keep the club ticking over, otherwise known as ‘staying in the Premier League’.

There is no four year incentive scheme at Newcastle United or five year plan that the gullible used to swallow, even when it appeared to be rewritten every five minutes to match the moving situation.

Ashley headhunts the very best people to help him run his Sports Direct empire, while sadly (so far) he has relied on his mates and people he has met in the pub to run Newcastle United. That is not to say these were terrible people or didn’t try their best, even Chris Mort who was a very impressive figure was totally out of his depth. Well respected in his legal day job he had no experience in football and had no strong management team to help him do the job.

I don’t think Mike Ashley sees the potential of Newcastle United in any way, apart from possibly a bit like the visible part of an iceberg. Even with the massively increased funds from the broadcasting rights, having a go at competing at the top end (top six/seven) has to be done on a wing and a prayer at St..James’ Park..

Nothing wrong with the club having to stand on its own two feet financially but when there is no proactive plan (or top management there to implement it) to attract extra commercial income, then what chance have we got? One of the top ten supported clubs in Europe and in the top twenty turnovers in World football without even trying! How hard exactly can it be to sell Newcastle United to corporate partners? Well you have to have somebody employed to pick up the phone for starters.

Newcastle United is at best an add-on to Sports Direct, or at worst simply there as a supporting act.

Look around at all the free advertising inside St.James’ Park, the fact that NUFC official club shops have closed down on Tyneside as Sports Direct Stores prosper, St.James’ Park used as a venue to host Sports Direct related visitors and obviously impress them.

All of this would be of no consequence if it wasn’t for the fact that Newcastle United are drifting aimlessly as a club and will at some time hit the rocks (again) unless something changes.

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