No wonder Mike Ashley has suddenly turned back up at Newcastle United.
After not being seen at a match for 13 months, the NUFC owner reappeared at St James Park in September and has now attended the last seven matches, home and away.
Even when on a long non-winning run of 11 matches (all competition), clearly Mike Ashley found Newcastle United light relief compared to his retail empire’s trials and tribulations.
Monday saw yet another disastrous day for the NUFC owner and the rest of the Sports Direct shareholders.
A devastating analysts report from Berenberg pointed out the Sports Direct failings compared to the impressive performance of competitors, especially Amazon, which they say is an ever growing threat to Mike Ashley and Sports Direct.
On the back of this independent analysis, Sports Direct shares fell by over 10% yesterday, from 324.5p to 286.9p, this represents a paper (Wallpaper! – Mike Ashley famously using the term to describe how his wealth was tied up n shares) loss of £124m to Ashley alone in terms of his SD shareholding value.
If you go back to only mid-July, Sports Direct shares were trading at 429.3p, meaning that in less than four months they have lost a third of their value, a personal paper loss for Mike Ashley of £470m in his shareholding.
Newcastle fans will take every encouragement from the news as they look to persuade Mike Ashley to sell Newcastle United.
For over 10 years now, Ashley has pretended he is trying to sell the club, when it is patently not the case. Anybody who has their house up for sale for a decade without selling it, clearly isn’t serious about trying to do so, obviously not having it at a fair market sale price – if indeed Ashley has ever had it up for sale at any time/price.
The Newcastle fan protests have seen the Sports Direct shops targeted in the high street, as well as interference ran online, especially in terms of SD’s social media.
How much that has contributed to the falling share price is impossible to gauge but as another retailer says…Every little helps.
Sports Direct is getting it from all sides regarding its shockingly poor offering, a new Which report asked more than 10,000 people about their experience of shopping online, of the major brands featured, only Homebase had a worse rating than Sports Direct.
Who knows what Mike Ashley’s intentions are with either Sports Direct or Newcastle United but as NUFC fans, the only thing we do know is that he is poison for our football club and needs to sell it on.
Clearly the focus for Newcastle fans is to continue to aim at Sports Direct which is his Achilles heel, the more negative publicity the better.
This Saturday sees coordinated protests at both the Sports Direct HQ in Shirebrook and outside the SD flagship store in Oxford Street, London (details of both HERE).
‘Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley has taken a £124m hit to his wealth after shares in the retailer he founded took a dive on the back of a damning broker note.
Analysts at Berenberg shot down Ashley’s ambition of creating the ‘Selfridges of Sport’, saying the idea lacked credibility and risked confusing customers about what Sports Direct actually offered.
And though the Newcastle United owner made a fortune out of selling cheap tracksuits and footballs, Berenberg thinks the brand is losing popularity among shoppers.
Analyst Graham Renwick said: ‘Sports Direct is, we believe, most exposed to the threat from Amazon. The online giant is already the second-most visited UK sports retailer and has forged encouraging partnerships with Nike and Adidas in the US.
‘Amazon is already better than Sports Direct on product range, price and convenience.’
To add insult to injury for Ashley, Renwick added that the millionaire’s company had the worst online site of any of its peers. Rival JD Sports has a much better website which brands want to appear on. He claimed Sports Direct had a ‘strained’ relationship with major brands such as Nike and Adidas as well, which could leave it vulnerable. Its shares tumbled by 11.6 per cent, or 37.6p, to 286.9p as investors followed Berenberg’s ‘sell’ recommendation.’