A surprise move today has seen Mike Ashley forced to back down after he attempted to award himself £65m worth of shares in Sports Direct.

A general meeting has now been cancelled on Friday after small investors made clear their displeasure at the idea and Ashley was forced to withdraw the plan, despite owning well over half the company.

mike ashleyBefore anybody starts to feel a bit sorry for the Newcastle United owner, you need to take into account that in the past  5 years the Sports Direct shares have increased in value by over 1,200% which values the company at around the £5billion mark, with around two thirds owned by Ashley.

Chairman of the SD remuneration committee, Dave Singleton, said;

“During ongoing discussions with institutional shareholders it became apparent that, while some of the largest shareholders supported it, we had not been able to secure the requisite level of shareholder approval.

“While the board is disappointed that the resolution will not now be passed, we respect shareholders’ views.

“We remain convinced of the benefit of aligning Mike Ashley’s interest with those of all all other shareholders.”

This of course is in marked contrast to those who follow Newcastle United and who Ashley most clearly does not respect the views of.

It was a sad day when Ashley forced all the remaining small shareholders to sell after he bought out Hall and Shepherd, no longer any rights or need to answer to the thousands of supporters who were also shareholders before Mike Ashley took complete control

The Sports Direct example shows that even though Ashley could have forced through his £65m bonanza, even he is wary of upsetting the smaller people and attendant publicity that would follow any bullying tactics.

No such luck at Newcastle United.