Many Newcastle United fans were left up in arms after Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group announced Sports Direct would remain open, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson putting the UK on lockdown.
People are now only allowed to leave their homes to exercise once a day, travel to and from work when working from home is not possible, to fulfil any medical or care needs and to shop for essential goods.
Shops selling non-essential items were told they must close, but Frasers Group declared themselves to be “uniquely well placed” to aid those aiming to work out from home due to their vast array of sporting goods and would be keeping their doors open.
Frasers Group’s decision sparked widespread fury on social media from politicians and leading public figures, with the Chair of the Labour Party Ian Lavery tweeting: “Who on earth does Mike Ashley think he is?
“He’s now prepared to endanger the life of his employees and the public at large. Selling sports wear is not a essential service. Take some responsibility SHUT UP SHOP.”
Who on earth does Mike Ashley think he is ????
He’s now prepared to endanger the life of his employees and the public at large.
Selling sports wear is not a essential service
Take some responsibility SHUT UP SHOP 😷https://t.co/3oBSA5dEpV
— Ian Lavery MP (@IanLaveryMP) March 23, 2020
Similar statements flocked social media with views of frustration, shock and those completely not surprised to see something like this come from one of Ashley’s companies.
The relentless backlash led to a dramatic U-turn by Frasers Group, who have since confirmed that stores will not be open to the public.
But the initial stance left many up in arms on social media…
Totally agree, his only motivation is money! No regard for the safety of his staff or the greater community. The man is vile and needs to be brought to account. He is endangering life unnecessarily!!
— Ray Cunningham (@RayC1945) March 24, 2020
— Dale Mason*⚓️ (@djm5001) March 24, 2020
If I worked there I just wouldn’t show up. This will surely be forced to close. Thankfully people are seeing Mike Ashley the way we see him. Although @rioferdy5 will probably do a home video declaring him a hero 😡 #NUFC #COVIDIDIOTS
— Mup Murphy (@MupMurphy1) March 24, 2020
Government should order MA to close all SD tat shops with immediate effect.
If he refuses then inform him SD wont be allowed any government loans/grants (apart from 80% wages). If he still refuses then arrest him.
Nufc fans know he is pig headed but this is seriously dangerous
— Philip Peppiatt (@PhilipPeppiatt) March 24, 2020
Even in the worst of times he shows himself up for what he truly is.
— Andrew (@1892af1892) March 24, 2020
Now is the opportunity to impact his cashflow. It’s the only thing that will get through his thick skin
People need to boycott everything Ashley
In 6 months time when Covid 19 starts to back off his only saleable asset will be NUFC
He may be forced to sell for cashflow reasons
— Paz (@ianparry9) March 24, 2020
Greed before need 😡
— Anna Hill Pears (@liccle_a) March 24, 2020
— Ant (@Van_Damme_Moran) March 24, 2020
Surely @MattHancock et al should be aware of this disgusting behaviour
— Aaron Middleton (@amiddle1892) March 24, 2020
In other Newcastle United news, the club have been given a free path to sign a 29-cap international this summer.