Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder For Mike Ashley
I feel as though I have had a lightbulb moment in my quest to understand exactly what is happening at NUFC, in terms of what drives Mike Ashley and I wonder if I have stumbled upon something that might be contestable. Bear with me:
So Sports Direct, the main company with MASH, the same group that owns Newcastle United, has a customer base and reach that is supposed to appeal to masses – something for everyone, whatever your need, Sports Direct has it.
There’s actually no point in solely being associated with NUFC – Sports Direct will not be more successful if Newcastle United win trophies. It seems reasonable to assume that Newcastle United is little more than a global advertisement board, leveraging the Premier League’s global (1bn viewers) reach. The only thing that matters/mattered to Sports Direct was advertising via the Premier League, a fact backed up by Mike Ashley’s ‘investment’ when the club went down, but subsequent lack of investment when success has been within reach.
So let’s look at that further, and given Sports Direct makes – one would imagine – considerably more money shifting Man U, Chelsea, Real, Barca etc., kits than it does shifting NUFC merchandise, isn’t it actually – and here’s where the lightbulb turned on in my head – in SD’s interests to ACTIVELY DISTANCE ITSELF FROM NEWCASTLE UNITED FC??
Digest that one for a moment. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Could it be that Mike Ashley has continually made these baffling decisions; Joe Kinnear, Dennis Wise, Kevin Keegan, etc. to show the watching world (and there’s a lot of people watching by the way) that whilst he may own Newcastle United, he doesn’t actually like the club he owns.
Isn’t it in his interests to keep that club out of headlines for success? Why? Because if ‘the World’ suddenly thought, “hang on – all this money I’m spending on my Man Utd gear at SD is actually going towards a rival football club”, what would the impact then be on sales??
If everyone felt paying Sports Direct money was akin to paying Newcastle United money, would as many people be so keen to do so?
Mike Ashley has created an image of himself as a loathed owner of a football club, a man so distrusted and despised by his own fans they actively campaign for his removal.
He has successfully applied so much distance between Sports Direct and Newcastle United that one is no longer a threat to the other. And whilst we wondered ‘why would he not invest? Why would he not at least aim slightly higher? why no interest in at least one trophy?’ this answers those questions.
Bring too much attention to the success of the club, and too many questions would be raised as to where the money was coming from to make us successful.
If Sports Direct were a chain of shops around Jesmond, Tyneside and Eldon Square, I suspect we’d see a very different owner running the club, in a very different way.
However, with shops in Sunderland, Manchester, Southampton and so on, it has to appear clear that he does not, and will not ever, use Sports Direct money to back our great club.
Buckle up, kids, this is going to be one heck of an uneventful ride…..
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