Maybe in a sign of things to come, Mike Ashley has arranged for Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle players to do a promotional visit at one of his Sports Direct stores.

The visit is to take place whilst the Newcastle United squad are in Ireland next week.

Rafa and the team have been ordered to appear at the SD store on North Earl Street in Dublin next Tuesday (18 July), to promote sales of the new NUFC third kit at Sports Direct.

Rangers fans were furious when it was revealed that retail deals saw only 7% of the retail price of official Rangers merchandise go to the club, whilst 93% went to Sports Direct. The Glasgow club’s supporters boycotted the official merchandise and recently those restrictive contracts were ripped up and fairer ones put in place.

Many Newcastle supporters wonder whether a similar (7%) relationship exists between what is sold by Newcastle United club shops, in person and online.

As for what is sold at Sports Direct stores themselves, who knows what, if anything, benefits Newcastle United.

The club announced (see below) in their official accounts in April 2016 that Sports Direct were in the process of agreeing a market rate for all the previously free promotion and advertising that NUFC gave Mike Ashley’s retail empire.

However, when the latest Newcastle United accounts were published in April 2017 (see below), it appeared to show that this idea had been binned and the free promotional services would continue.

In those two sets of accounts (2014/15 and 2015/16), commercial revenue at the club increased by only an embarrassing £229,000, a rise of less than 1%. At a time when all the other clubs are busting a gut to take advantage of the ever increasing exposure in the Premier League, in the UK markets and overseas.

The Sports Direct visit by Rafa Benitez and his Newcastle players is being promoted in a competition run by Dublin radio station FM104, which is also giving the chance for somebody to win the prize of meeting and training with Rafa and the Newcastle squad:


Meet Rafa and train with Newcastle United

All this week on the Jam we’ve teamed up with our pals at Sports Direct to celebrate the launch of Newcastle United FC’s 2017/2018 3rd Kit

The launch will take place in the new Sports Direct Megastore in North Earl Street on July 18th. Rafael Benítez and some of his team will be instore in Dublin to help launch it!

What You Win – DAILY PRIZE

€250 Sports Direct Gift card with newly launched Newcastle shirt and Puma boots


We want you to meet and train with the entire Newcastle team on July 17th + €250 Sports Direct Gift card with newly launched Newcastle shirt and Puma boots

The Mag – 11 April 2017:

When the 2014/15 Newcastle United accounts were made public at Companies House 12 months ago, they included a surprising reference to Sports Direct.

Since taking over the club in 2007, Mike Ashley has used NUFC to advertise and promote his retail empire, with no money being paid to the football club in return.

St James Park was even shamefully renamed and given SD branding, once again with Sports Direct shareholders benefiting but not Newcastle United.

However, a year ago we were told that things were changing, with the free promotional & advertising services provided by Newcastle United to Sports Direct coming to an end.

The 2014/15 accounts stating that whilst no money had been paid by Sports Direct to date, a new ‘arms length’ rate agreement was going to come into effect, presumably at market rates.

Newcastle United stating that ‘the Company anticipates receiving payment for these services in the future’.

Released Thursday 14 April 2016

Extract from the 2014/15 Newcastle United Football Accounts

‘During the current and prior year, advertising and promotional services were provided to Sports Direct International being a company associated with the ultimate owner of the company, MJW Ashley.

No consideration has been paid by Sports Direct International for these services to date but Sports Direct International and the Company are in the process of agreeing an arms length rate for these services and the Company anticipates receiving payment for these services in the future.’

One year on and it would appear that despite last year’s announcement, nothing has changed…

Released Tuesday 11 April 2017

Extract from the 2015/16 Newcastle United Football Accounts

‘During the current and prior year, advertising and promotional services were provided to Sports Direct International PLC, being a company associated with the ultimate owner of the company MR MJW Ashley.’

With the club once again using the words ‘current and prior year’ they are pitching in both years/seasons together, suggesting there has been no change in terms of Sports Direct now starting to pay for the advertising/promotion provided by NUFC.

Previously, the club have stated that Commercial revenue is the best chance Newcastle United have of gaining an advantage over competitors.

In the 2014/15 accounts, the Commercial revenue was £24,872,000.

In these latest 2015/16 NUFC accounts, Commercial revenue is £25,101,000

In this past year, the Commercial revenue at Newcastle United has risen by £229,000, by less than 1%, a figure even below inflation.

  • anyobrien

    How dare he! you would think he owned the club or something.

  • Leazes Ender

    Money from the sale of shirts in S**** D***** don’t reach Newcastle United, …..neither do shirt sales from Newcastle United (tax point shirebrook Derbyshire)…..

    They benefit only SD who pass on an arbitrary amount based on the generosity or otherwise of Ashley’s accountants.

    Since taking over United the merchandising hasn’t grown in line of other clubs in the league it has gone backwards dramatically.

    Ashley is a disaster for this club.

    Ask yourself if United really exists anymore

    • Soldier

      i`ve noticed that nobody seems to ask questions on the finances at Newcastle least of all the hacks at the chronicle

      • Leazes Ender

        Somebody can ask Mick Lowes at the Rafa talk in, but I don’t think he’ll be open to anything but banal banter, as he is the self proclaimed voice of Ashley.

      • Leicester Mag

        The Chronic as ever does what does best mimic the 3 wise monkeys – hear no evil / see no evil / and certainly speak no evil – for regional paper they are little short of pathetic

        • Leazes Ender

          For a regional paper they are totally distant…. Published from Salford Media City and printed on an Industrial Estate in Teesside, staffed by Lancastrian reporters…. Ryder was born in Shields this is true, but to a Toxteth born dad and a Humberside born mum….. he’s as Geordie as Brown ale is NOW.

          • Wor Lass

            New blood coming into the family from outside – it`s the norm everywhere except Pennywell and environs!

          • Leazes Ender

            He’s a Liverpool fan

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        People do, the problem, especially on here is that nobody seems to understand finances.

        • Leazes Ender

          I don’t think Deloitte can either because the financial year is out of synch with the season and Ashleys companies who take all proceeds from merchandising.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Sports direct United,that’s what we are. He’s invested nothing in this Football club,his initial £134ish million + £130ish loan to the club is well covered by any sell on value. He’s supposedly looking for £400million to sell,which is a 50 to 60% profit,if achieved. Trouble is,is that’s its such a nice little earner for him that I can’t see him selling.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        It’s only a nice earner if he sells and to sell, there must be a buyer. The club is probably worth a little over the £400m mark but folk with £400m spare are few and fare between.

        I’ve got shares in BT, I don’t get asked to put more money in whenever they lay a new cable.

        I think most would only consider ploughing more money into a business than it’s original purchase price if there was a significant opportunity for profit.

        • Leazes Ender

          £400m with no debts attached because it was asset all along, bloody tax dodgers should be rounded up.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            What did I say about nobody understanding finance? I’ve explained the loan so many times, when you were at school was the ‘Slow Children’ sign a road sign or attached to the name of the school?

          • TheFatController

            Yes, £400m is buying the debts. Unless you don’t do due diligence, like a certain somebody failed to do 10 years ago….

        • Kneebotherm8

          Is the club worth £400 million? That’s what Ashley is,reportedly, looking to sell it for,and if he managed to then he’d have made a rather tasty profit. Maybe he’s just quoting a prohibitively, exorbitant price to put potential buyers off. I think that price of £400 million factors in potential future merchandise and marketing losses for Sports direct and the(increasingly)worldwide exposure they receive.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      It that true leazes or is it a lie?? Maybe you can prove it to be true? Otherwise, a lie.

      • Leazes Ender

        Yes Mark Tulip did a documentary a while back for the BBC Inside Out programme……. and I think it was you confirmed this to be the case when you said it was a beneficial arrangement, but of course it was only beneficial to S**** D****.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Right, that ‘documentary’ did not really say such a thing though did it? It was exposing SD for importing clothes from low wages economies (along with every other major retailer so no real expose) it didn’t get any such information about NUFC.

          So, are you lying?

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    It`s a wonder he had time to inform Nufc, must have taken a break from downing copious amounts of Lager with premium Vodka chasers

    • Mark Potter

      Are you teetotal, then? Because most NUFC fans probably have the same binge drinking habits.

  • Wor Lass

    “Rafa and the team have been ordered to appear at the SD store …” Don`t let little details like not actually knowing how this has been arranged get in the way of a good dig, Jim. Clarko and Bobbi are (or should that be is?) going to be all over you like a rash, m8!

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      And Monga

      • Wor Lass

        He`s the black sheep of the “Wor” family!

  • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

    The Mag is becoming more pathetic by the day

  • toonterrier

    Does that mean when they go to Ireland they will be on zero hour contracts.

  • Jezza

    Yet more free advertising and promotion for Ashley’s sweat shop empire at the expense of NUFC.

  • Cuh736


  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Jim Robertson, oh dear. Where do we start? I suppose we can say the author doesn’t write the headlines?

  • Lord

    Be glad when we can start moaning about football matches again.

  • William Venus

    “Ordered to appear”??. Really? Can you honestly imagine Rafa Benitez being “ordered to appear”?

  • Steve Pearce

    Aye – the fat Chris Brunt’ll hoy up all over them after drinking 37 pints of Guinness and mistaking them for a fireplace….