Nike fear scuppered Ashley’s England bid
neWcastle owner Mike ashley came close to having a major involvement with england football. his retail empire sports Direct were in lengthy talks to replace Vauxhall as team sponsors after this summer’s World cup.
the Fa are having difficulty finding a new backer but ashley’s involvement would have gone done badly with many fans.
he infuriated newcastle supporters in 2011 by renaming st James’ Park the sports Direct arena for 11 months. he also announced plans to do the same with rangers’ ibrox stadium when he took a stake in the scottish club.
the Fa discussions with ashley broke down for a number of reasons, including concerns from england shirt suppliers nike about discount store sports Direct dictating price policy. the Fa would prefer a blue-chip company for a partner and a less controversial figure than ashley.
ashley, whose business acumen cannot be faulted, has been trying to sell newcastle for months but wants more than the £250million amanda staveley has put on the table.
an Fa spokeswoman said: ‘We never comment on commercial deals.’ Joey Barton (right), the bonkers talksport pundit who wants to work two days a week on the troubled station, was on top form yesterday. First he claimed ‘no one cares’ about the West Bromwich albion quartet stealing a taxi in Barcelona, then he said former everton caretaker boss David Unsworth would have been part of taxigate if he had been on the warm-weather training break.