With pressure from Newcastle fans intensifying on Mike Ashley’s running of Newcastle United, many supporters will be looking forward to a TV special tonight.

‘The Secrets of Sports Direct’ is aired at 8pm on Channel 4 this Monday night and sees undercover reporters go behind the scenes to find out the reality of working for Mike Ashley, as well as the allegedly dubious business practices he employs.

In advance of the programme, it has been revealed that only around 300 of the 5,000 staff at the Shirebrook depot have contracts with Sports Direct.

The warehouse uses a ‘Six strikes and you are out’ policy with staff named and shamed over the tannoy if it is believed they are not working quickly enough.

The ‘Strikes’ can be awarded for such serious behaviour as taking too long at the toilet, being off work due to sickness and ‘excessive chatting’.

Sports Direct responded to the ‘Six strikes’ policy with the following:

“The system takes into consideration a worker’s timekeeping, attendance, conduct and performance-target levels. Where a worker falls below the required standards, the reasons will be discussed and support and training provided.”

For those Newcastle, or indeed Rangers, fans who believe there is any upside to Mike Ashley’s involvement at their clubs might like to think again.

Especially those few United fans who cling to the belief that Ashley is suddenly going to reveal that he is some kind of benevolent dictator who will suddenly care about what happens to Newcastle United on the pitch.

Just as he wants to squeeze every last drop out of every one of is zero contract workers and those supplied by agencies, the same is true of his relationship with NUFC.

The life is being squeezed out of our club and if the status quo is maintained, Newcastle will shortly (if not already) be unrecognisable from the club we all fell in love with.

Yesterday brought news that the NUFC Fans Forum has been brought forward to deal with fan concerns but many supporters believe the meeting should only take place if Mike Ashley attends, or else what is the point?

City Hall Gifts - shop.themag.co.uk


  • LeazesEnder

    I hope Bob Moncur, Mick Lowes, Lee Ryder and the other band of Ashley apologists watch….

    …. and start to ‘think’ about their allegiance!

  • DavidDrape

    maybe it will hit home with some fans how he treats staff? what if one of your parents worked for this company how would you feel? also it may hit home with some peoples own work situtation. anyone who is interested in treated people honestly and fairly and respectful should stay away from shops and club

  • Keegan Quitter

    LeazesEnder

  • Toon69

    Playing the devils advocate here but Ashley is only the founder & major share holder of SD, I think he has summit like 55% of the company now, the decision like staffing are probably nowt to do with him, like the players bought by the Toon are nowt to do with the head coach, so why are so many people making so much noise about how Ashley runs SD, when in fact, the company is run by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Hellawell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chairman) Dave Forsey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_executive)
    you never hear either of those peoples names mentioned, probably cause they have nowt to do with the Toon, not that we know of anyways.

  • PeterRobson

    New top for next season anyone ??
    Already got mine pre-ordered for me and my little boy !!!

  • pissed off mag

    ashley is the most despised human being hes up there with the worst ever, his greed has no limits, he looks like he smells of sweat , the lumps on his fat face are repulsive, and have you looked at his mates they look like there from the bar on star wars, you wouldnt want to be this awfull pig even for his money, i hope he gets found out and jailed one day

  • magpiefifer

    Toon69  Off the mark Toon69 – did you see Hellawell in front of the MP’s committee? He is just one of Ashley’s puppets (like Charnley,Carver et al) – as you said Ashley is the founder and major shareholder and is ultimately responsible for the company.

  • PeterRobson

    Toon69 I see where you´re coming from, but our club is being tarred with the same brush as SD by association ie:Buy cheap, sell high approach to transfers, that approach would be fine if we got at least a decent ammount of mileage out of the players and were allowed to build a decent spine to the team, instead we have stock rotation like canned milk before the sell by date.

    How about a disreputable payday lender emblazoned across the shirts ? Does that sit well with you to see kids with that on their replica shirts ?

    While all other clubs are reaping the benefits of pitchside advertising, we´re used as a vehicle to promote a brand such as SD.

    The appeal of a club to its supporters (far and wide) is about how it is percieved by the public.

    Half of the foreign supporters, Taiwan, St Lucia, Belfast et al wear /wore our colours because win, lose or draw the club, not just the team, was a beacon of upstanding fans and principles !!

    I´m not talking about the stupid comments made by the likes of Freddie Shepherd and Co, I´m talking about how passionate the whole city is about the beating heart of our club !!!

    Now we´re perceived as a joke by foreigners and neutrals alike.

    I visited a freind a few weeks ago and her Russian brother in law and German ex partner were even making fun (polite phrase) of the fact that I was wearing my Brown Ale era top !!!

    If we have to fight and suffer to win our club back for us and our city then so be it !!!

  • toon tony

    Well at least it hasn’t got W***a on. !!!

  • toon tony

    Yeah and I heard he eats babies as well. !!!

  • PeterRobson

    toon tony I´ll be getting that printed on the back mate !!!! lol

  • magpiefifer

    PeterRobson Toon69  Well said Peter.Our once-proud club has been reduced to what it is today by an unscrupulous,uncaring,cynical businessman whose contempt for NUFC supporters will continue.He will continue to ‘use’ the club as long as he can get away with it – it is up to us fans to change that!!!

  • LeazesEnder

    Keegan Quitter LeazesEnder He has been for the entire tenure of Ashley my Mackem chum!

  • RaySte

    toon tony I hear he’s literally Hitler

  • hettonmag

    If Cashley had applied that 6 strikes idea to Charver, he would have  been gone before the Swansea game.

  • Andgeo

    It is so embarrassing for us to be associated with this fat tyrant, and the club will inevitably be worse off in the long run. The Halls have a lot to answer for selling to Cashley!

  • FC Newcastle

    Think you have made the toon crest a little too big – lol

  • Toon69 Hitler didn’t [sport] directly run the Gestapo or the SS but those minions beneath him knew what was expected of them !

  • pissed off mag

    LeazesEnder  there gutless the lot of them gutless, apart from ashley who has a lot of gut

  • PhilYare

    PeterRobson  if only that shirt was a far fetched idea

  • Toon69

    @PeterRobson don’t get me wrong, I detest the guy but why does everything SD get associated with the Toon just cause Ashley owns us too, as has been said, Hitler didn’t directly run the SS but his minions did, not exactly a close comparison but I get the point lol I’ve supported the Toon for nearly 30yrs & I’ve seen the ups & down of previous owners but this is the first time I’ve felt like packing it all in & watching paint dry for the excitement but fans boycotting games after they’ve paid for season tickets isn’t gonna faze him what so ever, he’s just laughing & rubbing his grubby hands at us. The only way is not to buy next season tickets & hope the tv money dries up as sky won’t want to show any games if the stadium is  empty, that may then make him wake the frak  up….

  • Jarmin Geordie

    Within 1st 10 minutes it was stated “customers are been mislead” and it didn’t refer to us fans

  • NotFatFreddy

    Is there a rival brand for SPORTS DIRECT.  It used to be JJB Sports but even that was eventually taken over by Ashley?
    Pity there wasn’t a big major competitor and then the Ashley Out campaign could do a deal for a few thousand free t-shirts with their logo and they could be worn in St James every home game so the cameras would have a good shot of the rival brand.  A bit like the Mancs’ green and yellow scarf protest.

    Where’s your sanity to buy stuff from Sports Direct and to wear anything with ‘wonga’.  Ashley must think we are prize pillocks…daft geordies who love cheap tat and would buy and promote his brand and many with their Wonga loans.  I guess he was right, eh.

  • stepaylor

    NotFatFreddy JD Sports (but Ashley even has shares in them too)

  • ilullissat

    stepaylor NotFatFreddy He doesn’t own what the fans do though and that’s the our biggest asset.There’s a saying “he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing “

  • ilullissat

    Andgeo According To Hall Ashley brilliant though that doesn’t seem to apply to how he treats his customers

  • ilullissat

    PeterRobson I’m sure I could fit another hundred sd logo’s on there

  • Dont believe anything the club says just keep up the protest and no attending games And keep attacking sports direct stores and affecting sales at the stores. Piss of sports direct investors. If sports direct lost half its share value cashley would be worried.
    Next season dont buy season tickets anyone that buys match tickets or attends matches. All fans walk on to the field and refuses to walk off. It would be hard for stewards and police to take off fans off the field. stop any game to go ahead till ashley as enough and sells up. The club would get fined heavy and it would hurt him financially.
    Would this work its a suggestion and worth a try.

  • Its time to make a movie about newcastle united. Hows passionate the fans during the good times before ashley came in. You can have someone like bobby robson r kevin keegan when newcastle where in champion league and near top of table. It would be dedicated to bo