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Proof That Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct News Has No Editorial Independence

8 years ago

Many journalists have raised concerns about Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct News, the online sports website that has given us such classic ‘exclusives’ as Wayne Rooney signing for Newcastle.

SD News is reported to be a collaboration between My London News and Sports Direct, with claims that My London News have complete editorial freedom over what they publish.

However, those claims are looking pretty weak after the events of last week.

SD News approached fans of every Premier League club to get their views on the summer transfer window and for the Newcastle United viewpoint they contacted Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) and this is how the story unfolded according to NUST;

On the 3rd September, NUST had a request from a reporter at SportsDirect News for some quotes on the summer transfer window, this is what the reporter sent us;

‘I should begin by saying that editorially speaking we are in no way connected to Sports Direct and Mike Ashley!

I know this has caused some confusion amongst Newcastle United fans in the past.

I was hoping you might be able to help me in an article I’m researching regarding the fans’ perspective on Newcastle’s summer transfer window activity.’

In response a few hours later (still on 3rd September) we gave the following quote for SportsDirect News to use;

‘Newcastle fans have reacted in disbelief to the events of this summer. To say the return of Joe Kinnear was ‘surprising’ would be the understatement of the millennium.

At a time when every other Premier League club is strengthening their squad, it defies belief that Newcastle United’s is numerically weaker than the one that finished last season.
To not make one player purchase this summer is astounding and calls into question the ambition of Mike Ashley and those tasked to run Newcastle United on his behalf. A squad that narrowly avoided relegation is now once again left right on the edge with no margin for error, only two or three injuries in key positions would lead to potential disaster.

NUST hope that one day we will see a management structure worthy of the name at St.James’ Park and the club run with the ambition to match that of the fans, the same fans who make Newcastle United the tenth best supported club in Europe.

While in addition the money the supporters plough into the club has helped push NUFC back into the top twenty football club turnovers in the world.’

SD News had obviously done the same with every other Premier League club as we saw the views of the fans of every other club go up on the SD News website but no sign of our Newcastle United quotes.

Instead of the quotes appearing we instead received the following message from the SD News journalist stating;

‘Unfortunately my editor told me late last night he has spiked the story…’

Claims of any kind of editorial independence by SportsDirect News instantly blown out of the water.

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