Nike fear scup­pered Ash­ley’s Eng­land bid

Daily Mail - - Fa Cup - Charles Sale

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.

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