After putting the majority of staff on furlough leave last week, Mike Ashley has now shut down the club’s scouting department – forcing the likes of Steve Nickson (Head of Recruitment) and many others to also take a 20% pay cut.
As a result, they (along with Foundation staff, academy coachers and many others) will now be pointed in the direction of the Government Retention Scheme – so they can still claim 80% of their wages – all while our millionaire playing squad and first-team coaches continue to earn big bucks.
It doesn’t quite add up or seem fair, but sums up Mike Ashley’s careless approach to those in need during these tough times, with this coming after his attempt to put his staff in danger and keep Sports Direct stores open and his refusal to refund Newcastle fans still being charged for 2020/21 season tickets.
This means that a multi-billionaire businessman is asking for Government resources, or ‘public money’ for use of a better term, to help pay his staff while the epidemic tears through the country’s economy.
We were the first club in the Premier League to do this, with Spurs also following suit.
On the other hand, Championship table-toppers Leeds United’s players have took a wage reduction to compensate for all 272 non-playing staff’s wages – ensuring everyone at the club gets paid.
Birmingham City have also done the same, as have League Two’s Forest Green – where the players earn a pittance compared to the Premier League bunch – have spread their financial joy around to ease the pressure on the Government’s expenditure and allow lesser paid members of staff to earn a full wage over these tough times.
Without getting too political, I consider myself far from a staunch socialist. But, in times of desperation like we are in right now, it seems completely absurd that a man worth £2.5billion would still try and cling onto every penny he possibly can while others at the bottom are left with a dent in their pockets.
The players should either take it upon themselves to pay our clubs hard-working staff the remaining 20% of their wages, or Mike should foot the bill himself.
After all, it would be spare change to those at the top of the club but would make a big difference to those at the bottom!