Newcastle University Business Expert Criticizes Mike Ashley

The news over the last few days is on how the famous St. James’ Park sign on the stadium wall outside the ground were removed with a crow-bar by workers.

Mike Ashley – criticized by Newcastle University Business School Director
The workers met with significant verbal abuse from Newcastle fans, and at one point stopped removing the famous sign.

Dr Joanna Berry, Director of Engagements for Newcastle University Business School, had this to say about the renaming of St. James’ Park:

“I think the value of the sponsorship reflects the value of the team,” “We’re doing all right at the moment and I think the better you do, the more expensive you have to pitch yourself and the more you should be charging.”

“I think having already put the Sports Direct brand up there as a sort of ‘to let’ sign makes it more difficult because if you become the sponsor that follows Sports Direct, in a sense you are associating yourself with the brand values of Sports Direct.”

“These are not necessarily the brand values that a sophisticated, global, aspiring football club would necessarily want.”  “It is very difficult to inherit somebody else’s brand attributes and that is what happens when you follow somebody else down the partnership route like that.”

“I think if it had been left as just St James’ Park that carries with it such incredibly strong echoes of tradition and heritage and excellence and effort and all those great things. To take the St James’ Park name away and replace it with another one is a very big mistake.

“You are devaluing the part of the football club brand that really has got associations of excellence. You’re putting in great big letters above it the different associations that one has of Sports Direct as a brand.”

Well we agree with everything Dr. Berry says,  and perhaps Mike Ashley will be persuaded to keep the St. James Park name.


Not when he can get £10M a year from a company for the renaming rights.

Newcastle need to generate extra revenues, there’s no doubt about that, but maybe some things are best left alone,  and the famous name of St. James’ Park has been linked with Newcastle United for 120 years, ever since the club was founded back in 1892.

Once again the brazen side of the Newcastle owner and Derek LLambias come out, and they seem not to care or even want to listen to what Newcastle fans have to say, but this has been a long term problem with the Ashley people.

On the field of play and in the transfer market Newcastle are starting to actually be successful under Mike Ashley’s ownership, and since we were relegated the club has come storming back and we have shocked a lot of people this season, including ourselves. 😀

For the record here is Dr. Berry’s background and research interests:

Joanna’s research interests are centred around the personal and professional opportunities and challenges created by technological developments across science, business and the creative industries.

Current research covers analysis of changing value frameworks and business models across these sectors. Joanna teaches Strategic Marketing to EMBA students and is Senior Tutor for BA Marketing and Management.

Her Ph.D studied emergent music industry business models. Joanna is Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Chair of the North East Regional Board of the CIM. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Business Consultants.

It seems that Joanna received her PhD from Newcastle University last year.

In closing,  money isn’t everything, and if only Mike would come out and talk to the fans and show he is actually human, things would be a lot better with his relationships at the Newcastle club and in the City.

But he continues to refuse to do that.

Comments welcome.

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