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Shock as Mike Ashley replaces Keith Bishop but retains him for Newcastle United – Report

6 months ago
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A breaking story on Sunday is that Mike Ashley is ditching Keith Bishop.

The Mail say that despite Ashley referring to the PR man as a ‘dear friend’, the Sports Direct supremo is currently headhunting a big hitter to look after his high street interests.

Mike Ashley is building an ever-increasing empire buying up struggling name brands.

However, his business reputation couldn’t be lower for so many people.

Negative reporting of both Ashley and the way his business model operates, has undoubtedly contributed to the fact that the Sports Direct share price current stands at 279p, as recently as July 2018 it was 415p and back in April 2014 it stood at 922p.

Earlier this week, Chris Holt drew our attention to a Companies House update, which showed Mike Ashley/Sports Direct withdrawing from a controlling interest in Keith Bishop Public Relations Limited:

Sunday’s story from The Mail now explains that this move is related to Mike Ashley looking to bring in that big hitter to look after his retail empire interests.

The newspaper report says that the changes will allow Keith Bishop ‘to concentrate on advising the Newcastle United owner on sports and personal matters.’

On Saturday, Mike Ashley was at the Newcastle win over Cardiff, accompanied by Justin Barnes (pictured above to Ashley’s immediate left) and then Keith Bishop seated to Barnes’ left. No sign though of Lee Charnley at the game.

For some time it has been widely reported that whilst Charnley is the only NUFC director (for legal reasons they have to have at least one, though there is no proper board) and named person in a supposed executive position at the club, it is actually Mike Ashley’s close associate Justin Barnes who makes the big decisions on behalf of the Newcastle United owner. Whilst Keith Bishop is reported to be next highest in the pecking order, as well as looking after the PR side of things.

With all the conflicting reports surrounding the future of the club, these Keith Bishop changes could yet see a major difference to how Mike Ashley runs NUFC in terms of personnel and their designated roles.

The Times reported on Friday that Dennis Wise is back advising Mike Ashley on the football side of things at Newcastle United, as well as helping to arrange public figures to speak on behalf of the NUFC owner in the media.

Whilst The Mail reported yesterday that allegedly Mike Ashley had given up on hopes of selling the club (most Newcastle fans thought it was nonsense anyway) during this season and was now looking on how best to move forward still owning the club.

Whatever the truth of that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Mike Ashley still owning Newcastle United this time next year, but with every chance of people such as Keith Bishop, Dennis Wise and/or similar others in public positions of authority at the club.

Ashley appears to have accepted he has to do things differently when it comes to looking after the PR for his retail empire but it looks very much full steam ahead on the usual chaotic mess that we have come to accept in these 12 years, so far, at Newcastle United.

The Mail:

‘Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is preparing to split with one of its most trusted advisers and draft in a public relations expert as the billionaire expands his presence on the High Street.

The adviser will work with his growing retail group, which acquired House of Fraser last summer. Ashley is also wrestling for control of Debenhams.

The search has already begun and will leave Keith Bishop, who regularly accompanies Ashley on public engagements, to concentrate on advising the Newcastle United owner on sports and personal matters.

As part of the changes, Sports Direct has shed its controlling stake in PR firm Keith Bishop Associates, which it held via a subsidiary.

Bishop was described by an insider as a ‘dear friend’ of Ashley.

The pair attended Newcastle United’s match at Chelsea last week and were due to go to the home match against Cardiff yesterday.’

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