Ashley happy to be panto villain

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Mike Ashley is not a popular man. In other news, water is wet.

But while his reputation as Newcastle United owner is at the forefront of everybody’s thinking on Tyneside, it is sometimes easy to forget that his business ventures stretch beyond the confines of St. James’ Park.

To the non-footballing community, Ashley is primarily the controversial owner of Sports Direct, and at times, it has seemed as if his popularity in that role has been equally problematic as the low esteem he is held in in the north east.

It is currently the Sports Direct AGM in London at the moment, and as well as visible protests from Toon fans outside the meeting, Ashley has faced a pretty torrid time inside.

But as reported by the Chronicle, the businessman has come out swinging at his detractors.

Speaking to the conference, he said: “If you want me to paint me as the panto villain – carry on.”

And that devil may care attitude to his outward appearance in the media should worry United fans.

This an owner well past the point of having sleepless nights over what people think about him, and once that kind of apathy to the opinion of others seeps in, there is nothing that can properly unsettle Ashley, aside from losing money.

In short, Ashley will stick things out until the bitter end if needs be, as long as his pockets are being lined on the regular, and that will no doubt have Newcastle fans tearing their hair out for a while to come.

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