Mike Ashley Holds His Own In Front Of Commons Committee

Mike Ashley met with the MPs yesterday in front of a Commons Committee for a full 90 minutes to answer questions relating to Sports Direct and the way his company treats their staff and whether there needs to be radical improvements made across the board.

The reports coming out seem to vary quite a bit, but generally they are that Ashley was honest, forthcoming and surprisingly open,  after he had resisted meeting with the Committee for so long.

He wore a black and white striped tie, which looked smart and of course it was a Newcastle United tie.

mike ashley before commons committee

Mike Ashley during the meeting yesterday with MPs

The first comment from the Chairman of the Committee Iain Wright was:

“That looks suspiciously like a Newcastle United tie.”

Ashley didn’t comment or react in any way which kind of set the tone, at least initially for the meeting.

We suppose the reports from football related outlets and whether Mike was good or not is dependent on what people think of Ashley as the Newcastle owner, but he did appear to be fairly relaxed and even human.


He agreed with most of the comments about the fact that Sports Direct could be run a  lot better and even said the company had probably got too big for him to run – which was an interesting comment.

He also at one point said he wasn’t Father Christmas.

His PR man Keith Bishop sitting right next to him said very little and then right at the end when Ashley was asked if he wanted to buy BHS, Keith intervened and said “no comment”.

But then Mike ignored his advice completely and said the following:

“I can’t resist. 100% I wanted to buy BHS. That’s why they say you can’t City train me, you can’t house train me.”

“You ask me something and I blurt it out.”

Newcastle fans have heard very little from the Billionaire owner in his nine years in charge of Newcastle – there was the Sky Sports interview a year ago and then a few weeks after Rafa Benitez came to the club, Ashley said it was a mistake to have bought Newcastle United.

It was interesting that during the meeting yesterday the Sports Direct share price rose and that’s always an indication the owner was doing well and Ashley certainly held his own and a number of reports even said he charmed the committee.

The share price opened yesterday at around £365 and closed at around £384 and it’s up today too.

At another point when Keith Bishop had intervened Mike made the comment:

“I’m not media trained – you can’t media train me.” “I’m going to put my foot in my mouth and say what’s in my heart.”

We are just hoping there is a sea change in the way Ashley runs Newcastle United and what we’d like to see is for him to continue to stay in the background, now that Rafa Benitez is effectively in charge of the club along with help from Lee Charnley.

Mike didn’t get involved last season as Steve McClaren, aided and abetted by Lee Charnley, took the club down and he should have.

However, he needs to stay completely in the background as Rafa orchestrates a comeback for Newcastle United Football club, starting hopefully with automatic promotion back to the Premier League next May.

That’s the first step in the recovery and that’s what is important right now.

Comments welcome.

17 comments so far

  • Blofal

    Jun 8, 2016 at 8:38 AM

    Comment #1

    With the money coming into the premier league from the TV deal we simply MUST demand silly money for our players.

    If Townsend was worth $12m he is now worth $24m. The clubs have the money and we have no desire to sell. I’m pleased the club released that statement about doing what is best for the club and I hope they squeeze every last cent out of any club trying to poach our players.

    I trust Rafa though. Townsend seems to be the only one with a release clause so we have to convince him to stay. But the rest? Silly money only.

    $20m for Sissoko
    $30m for Wijnaldum
    $16m for Janmaat.

    If those players are sold for any less I’ll be furious.

  • Rotonda heights

    Jun 8, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #2

    Interesting to know what the fit and proper owner test involves. Firstly alleged child labour in far flung sweat shops and now issues much closer to home.

  • hibbitt

    Jun 8, 2016 at 8:49 AM

    Comment #3


    that will only work if by chance a prem club wants any of them just remember we have had no offers on any of these players

  • geordiemark

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #4

    well its obvious isn’t it, Ashley treats his workforce the same as where he gets his shoddy rubbish from, how much do they get an hour bet its not a lot, hes a disgrace of a company owner should hang his head in shame but he doesn’t know how to do that does he

  • geordiemark

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    Comment #5

    Rotonda heights

    spot on, the thing is here all governments of tory or labour past haven’t done a thing about it which is even worse

  • Tsunki

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Comment #6

    Hats off to Mike for a share price revival PR show. Like the end of season video a nice example of placatory humility for the public gallery. If Bishop was going to be ignored, why bring him and then ignore his only advice? Mike only shows up for one reason. Failing share prices. The “it just grewed” thing gets swallowed hook, line and sinker ha ha what a show. Business as usual though I’ll wager 🙂

  • Tsunki

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #7

    And the black and white tie? Please…

  • Jib

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #8

    I’ll wager you cannot go to your wardrobe and take every item of clothing out one by one and swear on a bible you can guarantee at least a couple weren’t made by some sort of dodgy labour practise somewhere in the world !

    As for closer to home – he admitted errors.

    He pays his taxes.

    He hasn’t sold his business to a bankrupt for £1 so he can rob a staff pension fund of £571 million !

    You , Parliament and the unions , are targetting the wrong guy.

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #9

    The whole system is based round one thing – accumulation of wealth. Buy low, sell higher. It has little interest in human welfare, the environment, logical social progression, efficiency and equality. Ashley is just following the blueprint of the land.

    It is wrong, but so is the system.

    Football wise, at least he has found sense in backing employing Raffa

  • Tsunki

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #10

    I’m only the majority stakeholder guv, I don’t actually pay attention to minor details like the oppressive regime installed in my warehouse the size of an airport that generates my vast wealth. Yes, I admit I think think eye off the business but it’s only because I was so preoccupied and hands-on with my own venture at NUFC.. er ..oh ..wait…”

  • Bobbybee

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #11

    I have reached the conclusion that certain posters on here are round the twist. Not just your average moron, but complete mental cases. Last night I was attacked – nowt unusual there – because I had a hospital appt!! 😉 Because the cretins have scared so many off the blog, my absence from the blog was only covered by remarkably low number of posts. People just can’t be bothered anymore? Who knows? Had they checked the times before launching this bizarre attack, they would have realised the absence covered four hours. A reasonable time to get to the Freeman and back from Ashington. No, apparently I was lying, because I wasn’t – to quote the blog bitch – thinking about my family when i got home. WTF is that about? I went for a follow up appt, not to be read the last rights. Why i was lying i have no idea at all. That wasn’t explained in the pathetic attack, just that i was a liar. These repeated personal attacks are going to finish this blog. Less and less people can be bothered and when they explain why, they are immediately accused of being a multiple poster – because, after all, how could more than one person despise these morons? They must be multiples. It might be funny if it didn’t ruin the blog for so many people. Again, last night, many others left when i did, leaving the usual suspects and a few other hardy individuals to talk innane shite. Am i missing something? Is this a football blog or the plaything of half a dozen idiots? Ed needs to sort it, or great swathes of time will be full of nothing, as is already happening. I was at my appt for four hours and hardly anybody had commented. That is a warning sign of things to come. I’ll argue football all day long, but it gets highjacked and becomes personal attacks. I’m sure it’s not what normal people expect of a blog – or is it? I’ll even exchange personal attacks if they wish, but that’s not really the point of a football blog.

  • Tsunki

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #12

    Jib just because he isn’t as mean as Stalin doesn’t mean he’s ok.

  • Jib

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #13

    I think the events in Westminster yesterday caused the mask to slip with the blog vixen.
    She needs help !

  • Jib

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #14

    stumpie you are clearly another manifestation of the bitch – do one son !

  • G

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #15

    Bobby, it’s probably not worth getting upset about, most people (and I include myself in this) are sick to the eye teeth of the minority of posters personally attacking other posters, ripping to shreds an opinion from several years earlier (because apparently if it’s written on the internet you are no longer allowed to change your mind?), and going all out for one-one-upmanship. There are certain posters when I see something from them, I don’t even read it. If there name re-occurs on the thread, I don’t even read that. I remember when this used to be a football blog, not a p**sing up the wall contest.

  • Jack Root

    Jun 8, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #16

    Mike Ashley is not media trained. Just how would you media train him!.
    I laughed even more than at Wail for Ashley’s ” Rafa Lotion” at Ashley’s biological metaphor of putting his foot in his mouth and saying what’s in my heart. He was as good as his word. Ashley said that his adviser had told him to keep his answers short and not to commit to anything. Then he promptly proceeded to ignore him. He spoke of the committee as fellas and said sorry girls. were women. At the time he was answering questions about sexual harassment in the workplace.

    This was no rehearsed performance that select committee meetings usually and Ashley simply got by on the force of his personality. In many ways it was a bravura performance. Though MP’s questions had all the effect of trying to stop a runaway steamroller. Ashley gave the impression of being candid, contrite and conciliatory. He did so very much on his own terms. Every inch the man of the people and wearing an NUFC tie probably the only one he has.

  • El Sleeve

    Jun 8, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #17

    Dear Ed,

    Here is a man who deserves no positive headlines. You go on and on about your IBM experience and how people should be held accountable and you write about this guy coming out well and completely let him off the hook.

    The guy is the epitome of everything that is wrong with capitalism: a good old Victorian workhouse master. Some of what was revealed yesterday (women giving birth in toilets, 38 heart attacks) was disgraceful. You want politics off this blog, tough! we’re ownedby the worst type of human being curently around, the billionaire who plays the innocent fool and lacks any compassion towrds his fellow man.

    If you were talking about Ashley and NUFC and your IBM experience, the mantra of “I am not involved so I don’t know, I just make all the money” through massive exploitation is really not good enough.

    I am angry, livid, to be associated with this man, the fat slug, not only leeches off our beloved NUFC but also exploits his workforce.

    He needs jail time, not articles with headlines about him coming out of scutiny all squeaky clean.

    I expect better, especially knowing how decent and honorable the people of Newcastle are.


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