Many Newcastle fans hoped that Mike Ashley was signalling a more ambitious future for Newcastle United when he had his say in public on the final match day of last season.

However, when the club owner said he was going nowhere until Newcastle won a trophy or qualified for the Champions League, I took it as a threat rather any reason for rejoicing.

Personally, I thought his reason for saying what he did on the day of the West Ham match was to get the message across to Newcastle fans that resistance was futile.

He, Mike Ashley, wasn’t going to leave whether fans went to matches or not, the club owner telling fans if they were going to boycott then they were only hurting themselves, because he would continue to own Newcastle United no matter how many stayed away.

After today’s action I think we can see exactly why Mike Ashley will be at NUFC for the foreseeable.

When I say action I don’t of course mean any investment in the transfer market, rather the action at the London Stock Exchange.

A very positive note from broker RBC Capital Markets helped put  Sports Direct in the top spot on the FTSE 100 earlier today.

The broker upgraded their prediction on Sports Direct stock to ‘outperform’ and have raised the target price of the shares to 800p from 650p.

This led to the shares going up in value by 3.2% just on today’s trading, increasing by 22.5p to 725p, this represents an increase in the value of Mike Ashley’s shareholding in SD by apporoximately £65m.

mike ashley

Mike Ashley and his retail empire are seeing their overseas operation getting ever stronger and RBC predict it to represent 20% of the total sales, saying

“International sales should represent a long term opportunity for Sports Direct given most markets are fairly fragmented with many independents or chains overly reliant on big brands.”

As well as growing sales abroad year on year and spreading into more and more countries, Ashley’s empire has also benefitted from the Tories winning the election, reducing the threat of significant action on the use of zero hours contracts. A new ‘click and collect’ option has also proven very popular with online customers.

RBC also stated:

“We also think Sports Direct looks better value now versus its peer group, particularly other sports chains and global peers.”

With the massive benefits Mike Ashley’s retail empire gets for free from Newcastle United, why on earth would the club owner sell off his golden goose?

When buying Newcastle United, Mike Ashley’s people told John Hall that he was buying the club to promote his retail empire around the world and this has indeed worked to an unbelievable degree.

Plus with the Premier League deal seeing English football being seen by an ever increasing Worldwide TV audience, it will only help to push further Mike Ashley’s overseas expansion plans for his retail empire.

Only a small handful of clubs featured live on TV more than Newcastle United’s 19 appearances, more than clubs such as Tottenham, Everton and every other club outside the ‘elite’.

If Sports Direct reach that target price of 800p per share, then it could represent (in a very short space of time) an increase in the value of Mike Ashley’s SD shareholding over and above what any normal valuation of Newcastle United would be.

Again, why would Mike Ashley sell off his golden goose that is so vital to helping his retail empire grow and grow and grow, both at home and around the world?

You have been warned!

Only the sight of a significant number of empty seats could possibly make Mike Ashley think twice (in my opinion), as having his adverts beamed to a worldwide audience with a background of row after wor of empty seats can then devalue the brand message, connecting it to failure. That is of course failure to find fans willing to fill the seats to give him the crowd shot he desperately needs for the TV viewers, not trophy success which to me is pretty much immaterial to Ashley.

  • toonterrier

    I thought you were going to say he’s just got a council house in Byker and is moving in at the end of the month. phwooo.  Haven’t spent any money in his shops for over four years and wont be doing so in the future so its not me boosting his business. Still annoying to see so many wonka shirts worn on match days.

  • v0ices

    toonterrier the ones wearing the shirt on matchdays are the people encouraging him to stay.

  • ToonAgitator

    The ONLY thing that impacts him is anything which hurts his shops. They should be picketed every game. Every away game 3000 fans blocking nearby stores. Spoil his shareholder meetings. Anything which harms his stores harms him.
    Aye he could let us go bust out of spite bug that’s better than the current comatose state.
    Cut the cancer out of nufc, picket sports*****t

  • harvowalker111003

    This is my transfer window concern read into it what you will.If we are going after quality players like we said we would be quality players are in demand,we all no nufc don’t fair well in bidding wars that’s why we sign shyte players on low wages nobody else wants.quality players have options and have teams fighting it out for them, why I repeat why????would any decent player want to join our circus of a club for half the wages he could get elsewhere?their is absolutely no insentive for them we have no ambition this is blatant by our tight fisted approach to everything we do at the club,you pay peanuts you get monkeys that will be all.

  • toon tony

    Exclusive. .. Even more proof Ashley isn’t going anywhere. ..

  • DavidDrape

    never forget we know when he is worried about his brand is when kids tickets are being sold for a fiver and he suddenly does interviews on tv

  • Phildene

    Think the live interview by Ashley was done in panic mode. He’s a worried man and has been informed of the lack of Season Ticket sales, hence  the interview. So yes the fact that the revenue for nufc-his cash cow- has fallen dramatically by all accounts has hit him. So, yes, if we keep the lack of revenue up he’ll shut shop an move on, after all it’s purely bad publicity he’s getting, as indirectly he is now, plus also the fact that it seems no one wants to join our club either, so looks very bad.
    Things might seem rosy on the SD front but he’s still hurting on the NUFC side-keep it up lads! it’s working….

  • desree

    good point, ptotest against sports direct. the press will be on board

  • markral

    We need more publicity to crank up the pressure on him …the quicker the better to get the media on board & also be relentless

  • desree

    a great businessman would invest in the club, create a winning team, entertainers style, have sports direct as the shirt sponsor, get first class global exposure through tv and shirt sales and grow a global empire.
    full stadiums.
    Mike ashley is not a great businessman.

  • CraigCummings

    My mates Mrs worked for sports direct and says that bloke is up himself and a arrogant prick……….. He’s no different to the way he runs our club he thinks it’s a business but yet doesn’t understand that he could earn more money the more we progress…………… I’ll never understand the bloke – I can’t him, that interview the end of the season was so fake you could see it

  • DavidDrape

    Phildene yip his reputation in the football world is ruined due to his neglect at nufc

  • DavidDrape

    desree and zero hour contracts

  • DownUnderMag

    I think as long as Ashley isn’t actively losing money with the club (and unfortunately the fans turning up or not is going to be a piss in the ocean in those terms) then I just can’t see him selling it.  He clearly isn’t interested in winning anything or even just being competitive.  He isn’t interested in creating a successful or well respected “brand”.  So financially the free advertising from NUFC for his retail business is probably worth more to him and his empire than selling the club would bring in.  I think as long as we remain a Premiership team and attracting headlines and therefore publicity (no matter how negative that publicity may be) he will not see any benefit in selling the club on.
    I just don’t get it though.  If he just re-invested what the CLUB makes properly, looked to push on, treat the fans and players with respect and looked to get higher exposure, attract more respected sponsors and gained more recognition then it would actually HELP his retail business.  SD has a bad name, and NUFC is being dragged down to that level rather than his using NUFC as a ticket to a better name for himself and therefore deflect some of the heat off him and by default his high street stores.

  • Conman

    Really good, honest and factually correct article.
    It really hurts to support this team at this time with no future in the coming years. What a depressing state for our great club and city.
    Let this be a lesson to all clubs hoping for a new owner. You could end up with one like ours. Beware.

  • fromtheheed

    Lets face it, if Ashley invests and we start winning trophies or challenging for a top four spot; there is no way he’ll leave Newcastle. Our success will bring him even more money and we of course will forget all the bad times and hope he stays and doesn’t sell up. Unlike John Hall who sold for a profit, Ashley will make money no matter what we do.
    Better the DEVIL you know.

  • Jarra MIck

    Good article Jim if very very depressing. In terms of an empty stadium Ashley would do what the Mackems have done fill from the bottom up. Have you ever seen the wide shots of stadium of shite? There are very few people up in the gods. This is what Ashley would do, those with seats in level 7 would be moved down to fill the gaps lower down thus maintaining the full stadium look. He’s got us by the Henry’s and nothing short of a helicopter tragedy is going to change things.

  • Gallowgate82

    Jarra MIck tragedy???? that would only be a tragedy for 2 or maybe 3 people the rest of those connected with NUFc would be dancing through the streets.

  • kuromori

    Conman But here’s how shite things are/were: he’s still better than Shepherd & Hall. Not sure if we’d be solvent by now if those two still had their snouts in the trough.

  • NottsToon

    Exactly right, use a marquee club to promote his brand.