Monday night saw the much talked about ‘Secrets of Sports Direct’ expose aired on Channel 4 at 8pm.
The programme used an undercover reporter who went behind the scenes as a Sports Direct employee to secretly film how staff are treated (very badly) and customers misled (frequently).
However, within only an hour of the programme being aired, Newcastle United/Mike Ashley released the following official statement:
The Club has noted the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme aired tonight (Monday, 27th April) and in particular the reference to the terms of the retail relationship between the Club and Sports Direct.
The Club is extremely disappointed no-one from Channel 4 contacted the Club for comment.
The information broadcast is wholly inaccurate and the Club will provide further information and clarification tomorrow (Tuesday, 28th April).
We will await to see what happens today in terms of what Ashley and his minions push out in response to the Dispatches programme.
You would imagine Channel 4 will have done their homework before making specific reference to any contractual stuff mentioned during the programme, so the club/Ashley may well be just playing at semantics to muddle the issue.
Whatever the truth of that contractual relationship between the club and Ashley’s retail business, to me it very much looks as though Mike Ashley will be trying to use the Newcastle United angle to divert attention away from all of the negatives aimed at Sports Direct.
Classic diversion tactics, if you don’t like what the media are talking about then try and shift the focus elsewhere.
What is abundantly clear for Newcastle fans hoping to help ‘encourage’ Mike Ashley to sell NUFC, is that Sports Direct is where the club owner can be hurt, when his retail empire is threatened/humiliated he comes out fighting.