Mike Ashley gave a long interview to The Times yesterday and he talked about his two companies – Sports Direct and Newcastle United and he did damage to both of them.
It seems like Sports Direct are having trouble making the profit they made in the last financial year and have already issued profit warnings.
Newcastle United are second bottom of the Premier League and odds-on favorites with the bookies to be relegated this season.
Mike Ashley did damage to both companies yesterday
So when things are already bad you really don´t want to make things any worse, especially when you are the owner of those companies – but Mike managed to do that on both fronts yesterday.
This is some of what he said about Newcastle:
“I have no choice,” “They’ve got me, and I’ve got them. That’s the way it is.”
“All I can say is there is a bank account. When you have emptied it, it’s empty. Don’t come crying to me for more money,” “There is virtually nothing left now. They have emptied it.”
“Do I regret getting into football? The answer is yes.” “I have had tons of fun in it but I haven’t been able to make the difference I wanted to in football.”
“I have virtually nil affect on Newcastle United, in reality, because I only pick the Board.”
“I don’t know what players they sign, I don’t know what team they are going to pick on a Saturday.”
It seems that Mike is frustrated with things at Newcastle, but you never want to show that frustration in public when you know your comments will be reported everywhere – but Mike let his feelings get the better of him yesterday.
And he managed to bring some (more?) negativity to Newcastle United, while Rafa Benitez and others are trying to go in the opposite direction.
And as far as Sports Direct´s faltering profits situation Mike said this to The Times:
“We are in trouble, we are not trading very well. We can’t make the same profit we made last year.”
The shares went down a full 10% yesterday and Sports Direct were forced to issue this statement today to clarify Ashley´s comments:
In the light of recent press coverage, Sports Direct wishes to clarify that its current expectations for adjusted underlying EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, deductibles, and amortization] (before share scheme costs) for the full year to the end of April 2016 are at or around the bottom of the range announced on 8 January 2016.
Notice we got no clarification on Mike´s comments about Newcastle United from Lee Charnley yesterday.
But what´s new?
So Mike Ashley managed to do damage to both Newcastle United and Sports Direct yesterday and made the current poor situation at both companies that much worse.
If you cannot speak about your companies without causing damage, then don´t speak at all.
And that´s maybe why we never hear much from Mike Ashley in public.