Mike Ashley closes Newcastle's retail store and makes staff redundant

Mike Ashley shuts down Newcastle’s retail store and makes all of its staff redundant as they are told club’s proposed new owners do not want to keep them – with shop likely to return to club control in fresh £300m Saudi-takeover twist

  • Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is closing club’s retail store with staff redundant
  • He informed them that club’s proposed new owners do not wish to keep them
  • It’s a move that insiders say points towards a development in £300m takeover
  • Sportsmail understands the change is one of the conditions of the Saudi deal 

Mike Ashley is closing the Newcastle United retail store and has made all of his staff redundant, informing them that the club’s proposed new owners do not wish to keep them. 

In a move that insiders say points towards a development in the £300million Saudi-led takeover, the Sports Direct-owned store is now likely to return to club control.

Sportsmail understands the change is one of the conditions of the Saudi deal, which has been awaiting High Court arbitration since its collapse last summer. The progress of that private hearing is not known.

Mike Ashley is closing the Newcastle United retail store and has made all of its staff redundant

Staff were said to be stunned when told on Monday that the St James’ Park shop must be cleared by next week and that all jobs would be lost.

It is expected to remain closed for a period before being refurbished. Kit supplier Castore are set to be confirmed as the club’s new official provider and the store, when reopened, will only stock their 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 said to be stunned when told St James’ Park shop must be cleared by next week

However, it is the mention of incoming owners in a letter sent to staff that is the talk of those close to the situation and inside Sports Direct.

Ashley has instructed top sports lawyers to challenge the Premier League’s owners and directors test, which could not determine a separation between the Saudi state and the country’s Public Investment Fund leading the Newcastle buyout, causing their withdrawal in July.

But sources close to the deal say that 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. 

Were that to be successful — and Ashley is said to be hopeful of a positive outcome — then it is expected that a takeover would be finalised swiftly and the Newcastle owner’s 14-year reign would be over.

Sources close to the proposed £300m takeover deal say that all parties, including consortium members Amanda Staveley (pictured) and the Reuben brothers, remain committed to it




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