Mike Ashley is closing Newcastle retail store and making all his staff redundant as they are told the new owners proposed by the club don’t want to keep them – with a shop likely to take back control of the club in a new twist of £ 300million Saudi takeover.
- Newcastle owner Mike Ashley closes club retail store with redundant staff
- He informed them that the new owners proposed by the club do not want to keep them
- It’s a move that insiders say points to development in the £ 300million buyout
- Sports messaging understands that change is one of the conditions of the Saudi deal
Mike Ashley is closing Newcastle United’s retail store and has laid off all his staff, informing them that the new owners proposed by the club are unwilling to keep them.
In a move that insiders say points to a move in the Saudi-led £ 300million buyout, the Sports Direct-owned store is now likely to return to control of the club.
Sports messaging understands that change is one of the terms of the Saudi deal, which has been awaiting arbitration by the High Court since its collapse last summer. The progress of this private hearing is not known.
Mike Ashley closes Newcastle United retail store and sacked all staff
Staff were said to have been stunned to learn on Monday that the St James’ Park store was to be closed by next week and all jobs would be lost.
It should remain closed for a period before being renovated. The Castore kit supplier is expected to be confirmed as the club’s new official supplier and the store, once reopened, will only stock its merchandise.
Castore, whose kit is worn by Andy Murray, will sign a deal worth around £ 5million and replace Puma in the role. The British company, founded in 2015, has a similar relationship with Scottish champions Rangers.
Staff were reportedly stunned to learn that the store in St James’ Park was due to be cleared by next week
However, it is the mention of the new owners in a letter sent to staff that speaks to those close to the situation and inside Sports Direct.
Ashley tasked the sport’s top lawyers to challenge the Premier League owners and directors test, which could not determine a split between the Saudi state and the country’s public investment fund leading the Newcastle buyout, resulting in their withdrawal in July.
But sources close to the deal say all parties, including consortium members Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers, remain committed to it – pending the outcome of the private arbitration hearing against the Premier League.
If that were to succeed – and Ashley would hope for a positive outcome – then a takeover is expected to be finalized quickly and the 14-year reign of the Newcastle owner to be over.
Sources close to the £ 300million buyout plan say all parties, including consortium members Amanda Staveley (pictured) and the Reuben brothers, remain committed to it.