In the case of Newcastle United Limited, there is currently only one Company Director, Lee Charnley. We all know that Mr Charnley has some control over the running of Newcastle United, we’ve also heard the names Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop bandied about. We all know that while many day to day decisions about the running of Newcastle United are taken by Lee Charnley, the ultimate Boss is Mike Ashley. He can keep Newcastle United at arm’s length as much as he wants, but the facts are the facts: St James’ Holdings is listed as a Person with Significant Control of Newcastle United Limited and a certain Michael James Wallace Ashley is listed the sole Director (and Person with Significant Control) of St James’ Holdings Ltd as well as the sole Director and shareholder of MASH Holdings Ltd.
Questions to consider:
1. Is Mike Ashley (as the ultimate shareholder and director) in breach of Company Law by running Newcastle United Ltd for Sports Direct’s and his own benefit rather than for the benefit of NUFC?
2. How was it in NUFC’s interest for Newcastle United Ltd to sell the Gallowgate land to MASH Holdings Ltd, thus preventing its own physical expansion?
3. Is the free advertising of Sports Direct at St James’ Park declared as a benefit in kind? If so what is the value? If not, what does HMRC have to say about the arrangement?
3. What impact does Sports Direct’s free advertising at St James’ Park have on Newcastle United Ltd’s bottom line?
4. Given what we know about the relationship between Newcastle United Ltd and Sports Direct PLC, what benefits does Newcastle United get from the arrangements?
5. How does the bad publicity around Mike Ashley’s ownership of Newcastle United Ltd impact on Sports Direct (and vice versa)?
6. Considering that Keith Bishop Associates Ltd is 51% owned by Sports Direct (which is majority owned by Mike Ashley), and is also paid by Newcastle United Ltd, could some of the negative stories about Newcastle United being spun by people connected to either SD or KBA be deemed to be against the best interests of Newcastle United - while KBA PR is simultaneously being paid by Newcastle United Ltd? Is this conflict of interest acceptable?
The Sports Direct AGM would be an ideal time for its Chairman Keith Hellawell to clarify the financial benefits that Sports Direct gain from their major shareholder Michael James Wallace Ashley's ownership of Newcastle United Ltd and why his company pays nothing to Newcastle United Ltd in exchange for these benefits. Over you you Mr Hellawell.