Sports Direct have released their latest financial figures this morning.

Their profits before taxation dropped by 72.5% but before anybody starts celebrating the demise of Mike Ashley…

Sports Direct claim that this is mainly due to last year’s profit being higher than would have been expected due to selling off Dunlop, as well as shares in their very successful rival, JD Sports.

Losses at Debenhams have also hit them in these latest figures.

Sports Direct claim that their underlying performance is actually very positive.

However, the markets weren’t impressed with the figures or what Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct minions had to say, the share price falling from a Wednesday close of 434p, to currently (at 9.30am on Thursday) be only 405p, losing around 7% of the share price.

From Sports Direct Preliminary Results statement:

‘In terms of statutory reporting, our profit before taxation has reduced by 72.5%, which arises predominantly from the profit on sale of the Dunlop business and the profit on the sale of JD Sports shares included in the results for the prior period and the recognition of the net losses on our strategic investment in Debenhams in the current period.’

My eye was caught though by a couple of things in this Sports Direct update, including this:

Mike Ashley, Chief Executive:

“I am particularly pleased that Sports Direct has not only been named among the ten companies with the most improved reputation in the UK, but also that we were ranked among the top five in an index of international retailers*.

When it comes to ‘improved reputation’ I would love to know how they measure that…

As well as Ashley himself, the non-executive chairman, Keith Hellawell, also mentions the alleged ‘improved reputation’, interesting though that he also talks about claims of Mike Ashley as a ‘pantomime villain.’

Despite claims to the contrary, I think Mike Ashley is quite happy for him to be talked of as a ‘pantomime villain’, because this kind of suggests a more jokey image than the actual truth, which is the ruthless tyrant that both Newcastle fans and the vast majority of Sports Direct staff (and customers) recognise.

From the Newcastle United perspective, we continue to be one of the biggest positives for Sports Direct shareholders.

Despite the club stating back in April 2016 (a month after Rafa Benitez arrived, incidentally) that Sports Direct were going to start and pay for the massive free advertising and promotion that NUFC give Sports Direct and associated brands, no such thing has happened.

I think we (Newcastle fans) all know our place in Mike Ashley’s scheme of things.

Keith Hellawell, Non-Excecutive Chairman:

Finally, I would like to say how pleased I was that our year-end in April coincided with publication of an announcement by the Reputation Institute, which named Sports Direct as among the ten UK companies with the biggest reputation improvements during 2017 to 2018.

In June 2018, the Company was also ranked ahead of companies like Apple and John Lewis in an index of international retailers, which was published by Loqate GBG in partnership with Planet Retail RNG and Retail Week Connect. Whilst there is no room for complacency, it is refreshing to see this independent recognition of the work we have undertaken to ensure that our working practices and corporate governance are aligned with our values.

I note that various commentators in the past have sought to portray Mike Ashley as a so-called ‘pantomime villain’.

However, since Mike became Chief Executive, the Company has initiated a process of transformation to the benefit of all stakeholders. This has seen dynamic implementation of our elevation strategy led by Michael Murray.

  • Paul Patterson

    S****s D****t vs Newcastle United.
    One is run by buying in things cheaply and selling them for inflated prices for profit, where the owner doesn’t give a monkeys about the staff and hires/deploys deflecting tactics to try and fool the public into thinking everything is above board and hunky dory.
    The other is S****s D****t.

    • Phildene

      Nice one Paul

    • MadMag83

      I would add that SD is probably run better than NUFC.

  • robbersdog

    Mike certainly knows how to polish a t*rd.

  • Coble’s Return

    Hmmmm – I don’t think that it is being too cynical to suggest that it is not difficult to significantly enhance your reputation when you start from a position of being a pariah within society. So SD has started to meet its legal obligations to pay the minimum wage and has stopped forcing its Shirebrook staff to undergo compulsory searches in their own time. Wow Mike, you are really leading the way in terms of your Corporate Social Responsibility.

    Even putting aside all the issues that we have with the lack of investment in the club, the blatant exploitation of the commercial rights to favour SD and the total lack of engagement between the club and the community, I still hate the fact that this man is associated with Newcastle United. He is not a “pantomime villain”, he is a divisive, exploitative dictator, whose actions mirror those of some of the worst industrial despots to have blighted history. He does what he does because he can. I long for the day when his association with the club, Tyneside and the whole of the North-East is no more.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Its a bit like us celebrating if we actually broke our transfer record… means nothing in relative terms

  • Gordon Gekko

    Question: When it comes to ‘improved reputation’ I would love to know how they measure that?…

    I’ll tell you….

    Well Jim this is how it work…. its a PR exercise, If you get the chance to watch Dave Gorman’s ‘Modern life is Goodish’ you would see that a lot of companies have what they call ‘accreditation’ its sort of like a primary school teacher giving a gold, silver or red star to a pupil….look at any brand and you will see an approval by an inhouse accreditation service (a little gold star) a badge, now how do they get that you might wonder, well firstly they have to become a member of the providers club.

    …. and that involves a membership fee, usually one of three categories strangely like the primary school star system….. Silver, gold and platinum, and you can pay for whatever ‘membership’ you feel your company warrants lor deserves.

    Some may say its sort of like buying your own approval but I’m sure they have the strongest of tests which measure the companies who give them money… others may say they are buying good PR.

    There are thousands of companies out there selling little gold stars, I know of a company which bought a badge saying it was striving for an equal opportunities status in order to get government contracts…. nothing of the sort!

    Maybe buying this sort of accreditation is the same as buying an online Doctorate qualification, its worthless PR spin.

    • Paul Patterson

      A bit like buying a title like a Lordship?
      Means nowt but looks good on paper . .

    • I Think Therefore I Am – Will

      A little like businesses scratching each others back,of course unless the monies stops flowing.

      Lol, it sure makes me giggle seeing headlines of this sort – when there’s someone at the helm who’s willing to commit perjury (allegedly).

  • drc74

    its a bit like dog shxt smells slightly better than cat shxt

    • HarryHype59

      Fox’s sh*t smells the worse.

      • Paul Patterson

        I had a few pints of San Miguel and a couple of glasses of wine last night, I can assure you, my sh^t smells worse .

      • drc74

        Monkseatons shxts even worse than foxes

        • MadMag83


  • Dutch

    Pantomine Villian is not quiet correct. “Oh no you can’t”. “Oh no you can’t”. I would say more pantomine Cu*t. He could easily solve the 72% drop in profit by phoning Amanda for assistance. I am sure she would say “Oh yes we can”.

  • Alex

    I suppose that, if you have a scale of 0 – 10, and last year you scored 1/10, but this year you score 2/10, you can always claim that your Reputational Score has increased by 100%.

    • Mxpx

      I believe you mean he’s gone from -10 to -9

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The minimum wage thing was totally reported wrong and like in a lot of companies the search of employees on their way out of the factory was out of hours and people complained they were not getting paid for it. Mike Ashley employs over 17,000 people and one year paid a staggering £34m in bonuses to full time employees including £80,000.00 to the cleaning lady so hardly the worst employee in the world.
    Instead of slagging him off he has certainly done better than the likes of Philip Green and others who have destroyed companies and jobs. Give him credit where it is due.

    • MadMag83

      Hang on, so you’re saying it’s perfectly acceptable for his staff to face lengthy search

      • Paul Patterson

        Ignore him. He sees no wrong in Ashley.

        • Kneebotherm8

          He thinks Mike’s the Messiah…….

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        When I worked at an industrial factory it was standard practice for peoples cars to be searched when leaving and no one moaned or got payed for it. These searches just take a couple of minutes anyway. Just sick of everyone having a go at him when he actually does a lot of good for society.

        • pedrodelgardo

          Does it taste nice?

        • MadMag83

          I’ve worked in places with random security checks, but not every day. I’m curious to know exactly what good Ashley has done for society?

        • TheFatController

          ‘Making people redundant by text ‘ good for society?

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Just ignore him & his brother, their actually mental

        • Wezza

          Just block the two Manchester United season ticket holders. They crave attention and thrive on winding people up. They’re sick and lonely old men. One looks like Sgt. Bilko.

          • Billmag

            Hope you are not referring to me.

          • Geordiegiants

            Ha ha ha!!!! Have you been accused? It’s mental this forum, everyone is a spy if they have a different view to some on here.

          • Billmag

            Correct mate I’m one of the dreaded Manchester brothers according to the crack.

          • Wezza

            No Bill, I’m referring to Monkseaton magpies.

          • Billmag

            Cheers 👍.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Deranged they are…..

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Phillip green doesn’t own a football club I support you psycho

    • pedrodelgardo

      Long walk – short pier – go on do us all a favour.

    • Coble’s Return

      Is that so? Why then did SD and the agencies that it uses to source employees have to pay its staff in excess of £1million in back pay? Why did the Select Committee roundly criticise the practice of penalising staff with a six strikes and you are out policy – this only after having had to drag the petulant Ashley to the committee? Why did Ashley in his evidence agree that practices would have to change?

      I don’t mind that you seem to have no issue with the way that Ashley conducts his business or runs the club, but please don’t delude yourself or anyone else with perversions of the truth.

      • Kneebotherm8

        His management people got all the big bonuses………profit related……..basically encouraging them to be as ruthless as fck………hire and fire agency staff at the drop of a hat……..all well documented in the parliamentary enquiry……disgraceful practices in Victorian times……never mind this day and age…… odious individual is Mike Ashley……

    • Billmag

      Can’t give him any credit he has hurt to many people.

    • Tweed Mag

      Ambulances at Shirebrook? Employees collapsing in the toilets? Employees being detained for searches well past their finishing time? Most on zero-hour contracts? Employees penalised for minor mistakes? What a marvellous employer. Profit before people. Can I borrow your rose-
      coloured spectacles please.

      • TheFatController

        A panel of MPs once called him in to congratulate him on his work ethics.

        Or at least, that’s how Mugpie tells it.

    • drc74

      does mike employ you as his persnal fluffer

    • grantham mag

      I take it the cleaning lady is your mother, and the 80 grand was hush money, as she gave birth to a little barsteward you PR ik

    • I Think Therefore I Am – Will

      Confusing, Not!
      As this is by far your clearest support and defence you have posted for that 💩 MA, while in the past you always claim you do not actually try to defend him etc!

      Thankfully, most peeps on here have immediately see thro your ilk 😍

      Yet again, Apologist totally comes to mind!
      Tho I think the salary is well worth it for you 🤮

  • Wezza

    Timely PR to paint the picture that Mike Ashley is a saint. To be honest the reputation of (that company) couldn’t get any worse could it.
    Keep the PR coming we all know your game.

  • JohnnyNUFC

    What did we do to deserve this? Cud we open up a shop called Direct Sports and undercut the fat cntknuckle

  • paul mclaughlan

    Been in once. Wouldn’t dare go in there again. Same as Cruise and owt else associated with the fat barsteward.