Looking around for related Newcastle United stories I came across a strange occurrence surrounding Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct empire.

As part of his vast business collection, many of you will be aware of his appalling sports news website www.sportsdirectnews.com , which specialises almost exclusively in rubbish transfer stories that are pretty much all branded as….exclusives.

The website was launched last year and claimed to be a collaboration between Sports Direct and ‘My London News’.

sports directMost Newcastle fans will be aware of the Ashley website due to numerous stories seemingly pushing the sales of our best players, including Cabaye, Krul, Coloccini, Tiote and others.

However, I came across this site this morning – www.footballdirectnews.com , when I had a look at it I thought it looked suspiciously familiar and sure enough it is the SD News website rebranded under another name.

There is no mention on the website that the change has taken place and I scoured the internet for news stories reporting on the removal of the Sports Direct branding but no luck.

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When you go to internal pages on the website then mostly there are references to footballdirectnews but for example on contact emails etc the staff are still listed with sportsdirectnews email addresses.

Checking on Twitter, SD News haven’t sent out a tweet since February 7 and a new one has been set up for footballdirectnews, with the first tweet sent out yesterday (February 13) and it has only a handful of followers.

The bad news is that despite jettisoning the SD branding, the website is still populated with the same type of garbage stories, including many related to Newcastle United.

Whether in the murky world of what Ashley does or doesn’t own, the Newcastle owner still controls SportsDirect/Footballdirect news is unclear.

However, I wish we could lose the SD branding at St.James’ Park so easily, getting rid of the hundred or more free adverts for the Ashley empire wouldn’t be a cure all, but it would be a hundred or so less reminders of the person who is destroying Newcastle United.