Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's cut-throat deal tactics revealed by businessman

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s cut-throat business tactics have been revealed by Rangers chief Dave King.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 12:33 pm

The Sports Direct tycoon – involved in an ongoing legal dispute with the Premier League over the stalled takeover of Newcastle United by PCP Capital Partners, Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia – and South Africa-based businessman King were involved in a bitter dispute when both locked horns over the ownership and commercial deals involving the Scottish Premiership outfit.

And King, speaking with the Four Lads had a Dream podcast, claims Ashley tried to get King jailed over Christmas for supposedly breaching confidentiality.

"The dealing with Mike Ashley and Sports Direct was absolutely vital to getting to the position that we have reached today,” said King about Rangers’ current financial landscape.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 04: Steven Gerrard shakes hands with Dave King as he is unveiled as the new manager of Rangers football Club at Ibrox Stadium on May 4, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

"I think from Mike Ashley’s point of view as well, the extent to which a businessman of that immense wealth and capability invested in Rangers and got involved in this indicates just how important it was to him as well. It was a fight that he wanted to win.

"The absurdity of him trying to put me in jail over Christmas for Contempt of Court for looking after Rangers’ interests indicates the depths and levels of, quite frankly, disgusting behaviour that Sports Direct went to to try and retain their grip on Rangers.

"It is absolutely vital that we have been able to release that completely, definitely and absolutely."

Ashley’s attempts to have King jailed for breaching a gagging order were thrown out by Mr Justice Peter Smith in 2016, the judge citing the charges should never have been brought.

Reports at the time claim Ashley believed King was in contempt following details revealed in a Sky Sports interview, in which the Rangers owner discussed contracts between Sports Direct and the club.

The legal battles between King and Ashley, mostly centred around commercial arrangements at the football club, were estimated to have cost the pair around £400,000.

Ashley remains locked in a legal battle with the Premier League, which is likely to see an arbitration date set when a panel can be agreed upon.