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All eyes on St James Park on Saturday as Sports Direct branding disappears at NUFC presser

9 months ago

Sports Direct and Mike Ashley go together like Newcastle United and self-inflicted disaster under this owner.

When buying  the club in 2007, Mike Ashley’s people told Sir John Hall that the key reason why Ashley was buying Newcastle United, was so that he could use the club to promote and grow Sports Direct both in the UK and overseas.

The media coverage and in particular the Premier League TV deals, home and abroad, giving the perfect vehicle for somebody owning a sports retail business and brands.

Fair to say that when Newcastle fans were excited to hear about a British billionaire buying NUFC, none of remotely comprehended what this would actually mean in reality…

Our beloved St James Park has been plastered with the horrific Sports Direct branding ever since, wherever there was/is a space at SJP, Mike Ashley has stuck one of his adverts on it.

However, that was only part of the story, as everything at the club carries the owner’s other businesses branding, whether the official club website, social media, the training ground, when signings are made and so on. St James Park was even renamed the S….. D….. Arena without a penny going into club funds.

On Friday morning though have we seen a bit of light at the end of the gaudy red, white and blue tunnel?

Prior to Steve Bruce taking his pre-Chelsea press conference, the backdrop was very different.

At every press conference/interview, before and after matches, Sports Direct has been as prominent as any other brand, indeed much of the time THE dominant brand that catches your eye.

However, for this morning’s Steve Bruce press conference, images on social media showed that Sports Direct has disappeared and instead we have local South Shields business ‘Barbour International’ looking a lot easier on the eye. Barbour appearing alongside the likes of Puma, FUN88 and Storm Gain.

Not getting carried away just yet but happy to see any positive and the diluting of the owner’s use of Newcastle United to give free/cheap advertising for his business empire, with a proper paying customer in place instead.

Interested to see how St James Park looks tomorrow and whether this deal with Barbour and/or others could see further improvement for the club finances and on the eye.

That is of course until we find out that Mike Ashley was visiting Tyneside this midweek to complete a takeover of Barbour International…


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