Kieran Maguire: Ashley has done Newcastle big favour worth 'over £100m'
Mike Ashley has lent Newcastle United “over £100million” interest-free over the years – a luxury their Premier League rivals have not had.
That is the view of finance guru Kiernan Maguire, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about Ashley’s legacy on Tyneside.
The retail tycoon sold the club to PCP Capital Partners for £305m on 8 October after over a decade of animosity with the fanbase.
The Athletic reported the same day that Sports Direct branding will remain in place at St James’ Park in the short term.
Sports Direct, the jewel in Ashley’s retail portfolio, has been emblematic of his autocratic approach at the club since 2007.
But Maguire claims that the branding at the stadium was a small price to pay for its financial security.
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“The Sports Direct situation has been vastly overplayed,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“Ultimately, we’re talking perimeter advertising. When he tried to call it the Sports Direct arena, he was laughed out of the city.
“Sports Direct do actually pay for the advertising. Whether they pay at market rate or they get a mates rate discount isn’t clear.
“The actual sums involved are minuscule when you compare it to the fact that he has lent the club over £100m. That has been interest-free for many years.
“If you look at market interest rates, some clubs are paying nine per cent on their borrowings.
“Mike Ashley’s interest-free rate more than covers the Sports Direct issues.”