Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has revealed why Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley doesn’t use Sports Direct as a shirt sponsor, despite also owning the retail chain.
Ashley did rename St. James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena in 2011, and that went down horribly with Toon fans, who were rightly fuming that Ashley changed the name of the stadium.
Speaking on the latest edition of The Price of Football podcast, he said: “Such was the backlash that I think Mike Ashley is taking, to a certain extent, the once bitten twice shy approach here, but you’re absolutely right, surely it makes sense to get external money into the club, as opposed to him funding it.
“Sports Direct also have extensive advertising on billboards, we now have these big, big, big banners, don’t we, at stadiums. So the perception of Sports Direct in Newcastle is somewhat tainted through its association with Mike Ashley.
“I think some Newcastle fans say, ‘right, we’re not going to buy a shirt until Ashley leaves,’ because yes, we want to see our team, you’re in love with the club, but why give additional money which is simply going to go through to Mike Ashley’s coffers’.
“So there has been a backlash in terms of the extent of merchandise sales are probably lower than you’d anticipate.”
Do you think Ashley would ever make Sports Direct the shirt sponsors?
Yes, can't rule anything out with Ashley
No, he isnt that stupid
TIF Thoughts on Sports Direct ever sponsoring Newcastle’s shirts…
Given just how many terrible decisions Ashley has made as owner of the Toon, we wouldn’t even be surprised if one day he decided to make Sports Direct the Toon’s shirt sponsors; however, we can’t see that going down too well.
Newcastle fans have often torn down Sports Direct advertising in the stadium to express their displeasure at Ashley, so we can only imagine what the reaction would be like if he made Sports Direct the Toon’s shirt sponsors.