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Mike Ashley -- Irrelevant Cunt


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Zero hour contracts are widespread and not the worst thing in the world.

 

I thought that unpaid lunches were standard working practice?

 

And while 45 minutes is excessive, mandatory searches and security checks aren't out of the ordinary.

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Zero hour contracts are widespread and not the worst thing in the world.

 

I thought that unpaid lunches were standard working practice?

 

And while 45 minutes is excessive, mandatory searches and security checks aren't out of the ordinary.

 

I agree. The worst thing is how few crisps you get in packets these days.

 

It's awful.

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It's not a good story for anyone concerned.

 

The key bit is, "It is not known whether the woman had notified Sports Direct management of her pregnancy, or if any appropriate action was taken by the firm."

 

If she's a bit of a heifer already and hasn't told anyone she was pregnant, wtf are the firm meant to do about it?

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It's not a good story for anyone concerned.

 

The key bit is, "It is not known whether the woman had notified Sports Direct management of her pregnancy, or if any appropriate action was taken by the firm."

 

If she's a bit of a heifer already and hasn't told anyone she was pregnant, wtf are the firm meant to do about it?

 

Put down towels?

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http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jan/17/sports-direct-mike-ashley-newcastle-united-profile

 

Sports Direct's Mike Ashley: nasty or nice?

 

The Newcastle United owner may be a maverick - see his Debenhams dealings - but friends say he is loyal and courteous

 

Friday 17 January 2014 19.17 GMT

 

 

Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct and Newcastle United tycoon, is renowned for his various vices, from outrageous stakes at the roulette table to his memorable nights out drinking with football fans in the Bigg Market. But in Totteridge, the smart north London village where he lives, the billionaire is best known for something completely different.

 

"He is famous for his Christmas lights," grimaces one disapproving friend. "He covers his house in them. Tourists come to see them. And it is not son et lumière."

 

Last week the self-made billionaire again shocked the City with unorthodox business tactics wheeling and dealing in tens of millions of Debenhams shares, banking a swift £5m profit and then sealing a complex deal that could give him a large stake in the ailing department store.

 

His choice of festive home decor is just one of the many aspects of Ashley that don't seem to quite stack up. In the Square Mile he is regarded as a maverick, who so loves a punt that he once settled a disputed £200,000 legal bill via a game of spoof with his investment bankers (he lost) yet conversely, he is quaintly obsessed with the detail of retail.

 

He is a man who eschews personal publicity and interviews, prompting him to be once described as Britain's answer to the late Howard Hughes, though his love of a night out proves he is no recluse.

 

And although Ashley burns electricity illuminating the exterior of his mansion, he has installed sensors that automatically switch off the office lights at Newcastle United's St James' Park home and sunk a well at the club's training ground to save on utility bills. It's not just the City that struggles to understand him.

 

Ashley was brought up in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, and began his retailing career helping out in the shop in his Maidenhead squash club, after injury scuppered any hopes of making a living from the sport although an associate says he's still an exceptionally good player.

 

That led to him opening his own shop, in 1982, where friends and family used to help out, and over the past 31 years he has expanded the business into the UK's largest sports retailer with 400 stores. It is a FTSE-100 company, valued at £4.3bn making Ashley's 64% stake worth £2.8bn. And all of that has been achieved by being brutally competitive.

 

For instance, in 2000 Ashley was summoned to the Cheshire home of David Hughes, the chairman of the now-defunct Allsports chain, to discuss the pricing of a new Manchester United kit. There another northern businessman, Dave Whelan, the chairman of Wigan Athletic football club and then boss of the rival JJB chain, mistook the casually attired Ashley for the gardener, before compounding the insult by reportedly telling him: "There's a club in the north son, and you're not part of it."

 

It is not clear if Whelan's approach proved the motivation, but Ashley's next move shocked the industry. He turned whistleblower and reported his rivals to the Office of Fair Trading for fixing the price of replica football shirts, which eventually led to dawn raids and multimillion-pound fines.

 

If his rivals didn't realise then what type of character they were up against, they have since had plenty of time to reconsider. There is no longer a club in the north as its members have been crushed by "a canny and aggressive operator", as one observer puts it.

 

Allsports and JJB have both died in the face of Ashley's relentless discounting and aggressive acquisition of brands, which has included turning the croquet and tennis set's beloved Lillywhites in Piccadilly Circus, London, into a pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap bazaar. He has also snapped up sports brands such as Donnay, Lonsdale and Dunlop Slazenger, which once suggested quality, but are now stretched across ever-wider product ranges.

 

As one sports fan put it ruefully: "Nobody ever lost money underestimating the British public's appetite to buy shite."

 

Still, most people who have worked with Ashley seem to admire him, with almost all effusive about his talent as a retailer: "The most extraordinary instinctive businessman," gushes one, while another adds: "The way he describes it is that if Sports Direct was a Formula One car then he'd be the mechanic sitting in the garage tinkering. He has revolutionised the supply chain."

 

Perhaps more surprising, though, is how well the man seems to be liked. "When I first met him I thought I might get a bit of a Philip Green," says one City figure. "But actually he is courteous and considerate. He asks a question once and he listens to the answer."

 

There are also tales that contradict the nice-guy image that many of his advisers like to portray, including people who deal with Ashley's senior team finding them curiously reticent about expressing any opinions without prior permission from the boss. Some City advisers who have had the cheek to contact Ashley directly have been called and rebuked by his entourage for going straight to the top.

 

But overall, his personality does seem to translate into lasting bonds between Ashley and those close to him albeit with the possible exception of Linda Jerlmyr, his former wife with whom he had three children, and whom he paid £50m when they divorced in 2003.

 

Ashley's need to surround himself with trusted friends occasionally produces some perplexing appointments Newcastle fans are still struggling to comprehend the attraction of Joe Kinnear as a director of football but the policy also means that Ashley's senior team repay his loyalty.

 

Sports Direct's chief executive, David Forsey, has been with the business since 1984. Finance boss Bob Mellors, who retired on health grounds last month had been at the company since 2002, and was previously at accountant Eacott Worrall where Sports Direct first became a client in 1982. Then there is Ashley's brother John, who is head of IT and joined company in 1989.

 

They run the operation from an industrial estate in Shirebrook, on the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire border, where on Monday evenings they gather for business dinners at a local pub, before retiring to one of the houses the company has bought in the area.

 

The latest addition to this inner circle is Jeff Blue, who as a banker at Merrill Lynch worked on the Sports Direct flotation in 2007, before joining the Icelandic investor Baugur.

 

In a move that now looks like a practice run, Baugur snapped up a near-5% stake in Debenhams days after Blue joined. Blue had previously presided over the flotation of the department store (also in 2007) while at Merrill Lynch meaning that all sorts of theories are circulating the City about Ashley's strategy for Debenhams.

 

Some suggest a bid, others that Ashley wants to sell his fashion brands such as Firetrap in the department store. There have been reports that he wants to supply celebrity-fronted sports brands to Debenhams, while rivals point out that the tycoon is always looking at ways of getting his hands on more Nike and Adidas stock, because the giant brands restrict his supply: "He is Adidas and Nike's largest customer in the UK, but they won't supply him as much as he wants. So he buys it from other people. For him it is not about price, it is about receiving supply."

 

Whatever Ashley's plan, Debenhams' directors are unlikely to be left alone. One rival who found Ashley on his share register explains: "His modus operandi is pretty pitiful. You meet, when he'll always be eating or drinking something, but he'll be pretty courteous. You shake hands and agree on the next steps. And then the next day you read an attack on yourself in the media.

 

"Some people are attack dogs to your face, which is easier to read. He was far nicer in person than you'd expect. Afterwards, he is far nastier."

 

Potted profile

 

Born: 9 September 1964

 

Career: Left school at 16 as a county-level squash player, but injury ruined any chance of going professional. Opened first sports shop in Maidenhead in 1982, followed by others in and around London, and became Sports Direct.

 

High point: Now. Sports Direct shares are trading at an all-time high more than 20 times higher than in 2008, when the City did not trust the way he was running the company. As one observer puts it: "He has been cleverer than the City."

 

Low point: The two years after the 2007 flotation when shares slumped by 90% after corporate governance worriesand Newcastle United fans were demanding that he sell the club.

 

What he says: "You want me out [of Newcastle]. That is what I am now trying to do, but it won't happen overnight and it may not happen at all if a buyer does not come in."

 

What they say: "We hope Mike Ashley will sit down with Unite to discuss how the treatment of workers at Sports Direct can be improved, after they have made the business such a success." Annmarie Kilcline, regional secretary at Unite, after it emerged that 90% of Sports Direct staff were on zero-hours contracts.

Edited by trophyshy
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  • 2 weeks later...

My first post on my "Mike Ashley Lies" blog in a few years.

 

http://nufc-ashlies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/i-will-not-let-any-player-leave.html

 

It started off as an explanation of why anger might have dissipated over a couple of years but disillusionment has returned after 2 windows without a buy...then we sold Cabaye while it was unfinished and it lost any direction and turned into an emo moan.

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My first post on my "Mike Ashley Lies" blog in a few years.

 

http://nufc-ashlies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/i-will-not-let-any-player-leave.html

 

It started off as an explanation of why anger might have dissipated over a couple of years but disillusionment has returned after 2 windows without a buy...then we sold Cabaye while it was unfinished and it lost any direction and turned into an emo moan.

A good read HF thanks for sharing.

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So this is going to be the week when Mike Ashley can rightly say he is getting the hang of this football lark.

 

European ties against the likes of Benfica in April

A transfer / wage system that works

A squad that just keeps getting better

Great season ticket deals for fans

And a profit making football club

 

And all this before the the big bucks TV money rolls in.

 

Of course it hasn't been delivered without pain, but few revolutions are smooth.

 

We will rightly hear all sorts of praise for dynamic duo this week and once again our club will be heralded as the blue print for most clubs to follow.

 

So where now? What about the next few years? How can we as a club take advantage of this solid foundation and become a regular top four challenger?

:lol:

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saints fans on 5Live last night complainingthey'd played the reserves against the Rabble in the Cup - and now they have nothing to look forward to for the rest of the season - that's us in spades I guess

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  • Andrew changed the title to Mike Ashley -- Irrelevant Cunt

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