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Mike Ashley To Reluctantly Close Stores During Global Pandemic

On Monday, PM Boris Johnson announced that the UK would be in full lockdown for three weeks. He told the public that they simply must stay home and to only venture out if it was absolutely necessary.

The only reasons to go outside, he said, were to exercise once a day, medical purposes, to provide care to someone, or for work when it could not be avoided.

Shortly after the Primer Minister’s order, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which includes Sports Direct and Evans Cycles, tried to make a claim that it is essential.

This is what Frasers Group’s finance chief Chris Wootton wrote after the national lockdown was announced:

“We stock a huge range of sports equipment designed for exercising at home… indeed home fitness is the number one trending topic on social media after coronavirus itself.

“Against the backdrop of the closure of gyms, the demand for these types of products has increased exponentially as the population looks to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit, and healthy as possible during this crisis and thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the Government’s current social distancing guidance).

“There is no one else that has the range of product and range of stores to make this reasonably accessible for the whole population.”

However, it didn’t take long for the government to respond. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove went on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and made the following comments:

“My view is that Mike Ashley should rescind what he said. He should back off. The key thing we need to do is make sure people wherever possible stay at home.

“Yes it’s important people exercise but that should be done once a day and it’s a basic thing.

“People can walk, run or cycle, they should, but there is no reason for a store like Sports Direct to remain open.”

The Athletic’s George Caulkin has tweeted an update that both Sports Direct and Evans Cycles will close.

Mike Ashley is quite disgraceful beyond belief.

25 comments so far

  • Moonraker15

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #1

    Is there no end to his greed! Shame on him when major retailers are leading the way in closing non-essential stores!
    He’s become the “unacceptable face of capitalism”!

  • geordietom

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #2

    I hoe Ashley’s empire is in tatters , hope he get’s what he deserves asking people to work in his shops with this Virus raging through the country , hes a Despicable person all he wants to do is line his own pockets , he needs to sell our club A.S.A.P . all he cares about is money NOT HUMAN LIVES . SO DO US A FAVOUR ASHLEY SELL WOR CLUB AND PISS OFF BACK INTO THE HOLE YOU CAME FROM …

  • geordietom

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #3

    hoe- hope…

  • Anglo Saxon

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #4

    Spaniards abandoning care homes leaving resident to look after themselves, some dying worrying times for brits with relatives in these places.

  • Anglo Saxon

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #5

    And jib wants to go back to Spain because he’s bored of being in Tynemouth think we could have a collection to get him out there.

  • Jib

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #6

    Unbelievable PR gaffe

  • Jib

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #7

    Anglo Saxon
    And jib wants to go back to Spain because he’s bored of being in Tynemouth think we could have a collection to get him out there.

    I’ve plenty money ta
    There’s no flights from the UK to Spain thicko
    Dopey or what ?

  • coming home

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #8

    There might not be a flight
    But we could always stick you in a dingy and give it a big push

  • Bills Son Is Back

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #9

    For those who claim I’m an Ashley defender…

    What an absolute idiot the man is to try and keep SD open with such an idiotic excuse.

    Did he or any of his senior management seriously not forsee that this would be met with totally deserved scorn?

    An absolute self imposed PR disaster – Ashley has now proven to the world outside NUFC why he is so vilified by fans.

    The stupidity is mind blowing.

  • lesh

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #10


    Oh yes, quite an astonishing gaffe and one would’ve thought that even Ashley would’ve have seen the potential for it.

    He’s probably followed that route knowing that he’d be told to close his stores ensuring that we, the taxpayer would pick up the bill for the ‘wages’ affected staff would be paid due to store closures resulting from covid.

    Did government reduce business rates recently? Are the SD warehouses still functioning or are they too deemed non-essential? Has this gaffe undone any image enhancement (rebranding etc) his son-in-law was tasked with?

    The problem I see with Ashley is that he’s oblivious to any criticism he’ll never change and never be skint as we know it.

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #11

    Jib – you should have stopped in Spain – you potentially could be a carrier and responsible for spreading the virus in this area.
    You need to apologise to the blog.

  • lesh

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #12

    coming home @8

    The sea might not be keen on your dinghy idea!
    Nor the inhabitants of Fantasy Island for that matter – they might be thankful for the break!

  • Jib

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #13

    He clearly thought he could use the health stores and cycle shops
    exemption as a loophole to skirt the regulations.
    Instead it has blown up in his face so much he has to close down
    Evans Cycles as well.

  • IrishRob

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #14

    Bills, you mean mind-blowingly stupid, right?

  • geordietom

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #15

    got my letter off the NHS this morning so i’m stuck doors for 3 months now , if that’s the way it got to be so be it …

  • IrishRob

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #16

    I read stupidly, lol my bad!

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #17

    Apparently there was an anti Ashley firestorm on twitter by all manner of persons after the SD statement.

    He is hated, he’s no philanthropist his greed is clearly demonstrated above any logical thought.
    I think we could be witnessing the start of the end of Mr Tubbs.

  • simon376

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #18

    Yeah Mr Tuff, its no longer just us Newcastle fans who have the strong dislike of him, its now countrywide if not even further

  • Anglo Saxon

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #19

    Who said a flight I was thinking of hiring illegal immigrant smugglers, dopey.

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #20

    simon – indeed that is true. The swine could take the club down with him. On his deathbed he would still get the knife in.

  • Jib

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #21

    He cannot back-pedal from this.
    Feelings are running too high
    What an unbelievable miscalculation

  • Anglo Saxon

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #22

    Jib think it’s called reverse-positive.

  • geordiemark

    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #23

    no goods sold for the next month or 6 weeks in your tat shops ashley, also watch the share prices go tumbling down I reckon in about a month or so an invester comes in says heres my offer for the toon ………………. over to you swamp garbage 🙂

  • lesh

    Mar 24, 2020 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #24

    You’ve turned against Ashley all of a sudden – have you been laid off without pay?


    Mar 24, 2020 at 10:17 PM

    Comment #25

    Price gouging piece of shit.


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