Mike Ashley has shown he still has the capacity to surprise and that even he can take the pragmatic approach.
Last summer the Newcastle United owner at last accepted that employing stooges to coach the squad but have no say on transfers, had been an unmitigated disaster. Rafa Benitez agreed to stay at the club and choose his own signings, with shock horror, even bringing in some players who were the wrong side of 30!
On Wednesday there has been an arguably even bigger shift from the retail tycoon, with Mike Ashley & Sports Direct having agreed to end their Mexican stand-off with Rangers football club.
Arrangements had been made between Sports Direct and those running Rangers before the current regime, which meant that basically the football club earned next to nothing from the official merchandise sold, with Mike Ashley and SD pocketing almost all of the profits.
This led to a position whereby Sports Direct had Rangers tied into these shocking contract terms for many years to come BUT many/most Rangers fans refusing to buy the official replica shirts and other merchandise – because most of the profits went into Sports Direct/Mike Ashley’s pockets, rather than the club.
The net result being, that whilst the status quo was maintained, both parties were losers, with so little official merchandise being sold.
However, Rangers have now released this short statement today – 21 June 2017:
“The Rangers Football Club Limited (TRFC) and Sports Direct (SD) are pleased to announce that they have terminated all prior agreements between them and entered into a new commercial arrangement on terms substantially different from the terminated agreements.
“As part of the new arrangements, the Rangers Retail Limited (RRL) joint venture between TRFC and SD has ended and, going forward, TRFC will deal directly with SD.
“The financial arrangements between the parties are transformed. TRFC will now receive by far the majority of net profits from the retail operations at the megastore and webstore together with an equal share of all net profits from sales through SD.
“For obvious reasons it is not the practice for the details of commercial arrangements to be made public. However, in view of the publicity surrounding the previous agreements and the resultant boycott by supporters of kit purchases we consider it appropriate to give supporters some insight into the new arrangements.
“Supporters now have certainty that any money they spend on Rangers products will be hugely beneficial for the Club.
“The new arrangements represent a fresh start for the Rangers Megastore, the re-launch of the Rangers Webstore and the sale of Rangers kit and products throughout SD’s stores.
“[Rangers] will now receive by far the majority of net profits from the retail operations at the Megastore and Webstore together with an equal share of all net profits from sales through SD. [Rangers] will also obtain a priority dividend on the winding up of RRL.
“Both parties are delighted to achieve a successful resolution to the issues that have previously marred the relationship between them and bring an end to the protracted and costly litigation.
“Rangers has traditionally been one of the best performing brands in British football and the club believes the new arrangements can restore it to that position, providing funds to invest in the team and facilities at Ibrox and Auchenhowie.”