Keith Bishop has been a constant at Newcastle United during the reign of Mike Ashley.
The man the owner tasks with managing the owner’s PR spin at the football club.
Along with Justin Barnes, Keith Bishop is one of Ashley’s long-term inner circle of trusted people as he has grown his retail empire.
Barnes and Bishop (pictured sitting in front of Ashley above) the NUFC’s people looking after his Newcastle United interests, far over and above Lee Charnley’s role.
Keith Bishop also looked after the PR spin for Mike Ashley’s retail empire until early January 2019.
Ashley replacing Keith Bishop on the Sports Direct (now Fraser Group) empire but keeping him on to cover his personal interests and PR matters involving Newcastle United. Up until that point (early January 2019) Mike Ashley had owned the controlling interest in Keith Bishop Public Relations Limited, only for the NUFC owner then at that point handing his controlling shareholding over to Keith Bishop.
Moving forward to the present day, Mike Ashley last night (Monday 26 October 2020) released a public statement (see below) calling for a change to the Premier League Pay For View arrangements, portraying himself as a champion of the people in saying the charge should be reduced from £14.95 to £4.95.
Newcastle fans finding it laughable that Mike Ashley of all people should be claiming that he is concerned for football fans, especially Newcastle supporters.
Many fans pointing out that this was simply a PR spin publicity grab, as there is a meeting of all 20 Premier League clubs today (Tuesday 27 October) anyway to discuss what to do about Pay Per View, so why did Mike Ashley need to release this statement, he could have just proposed this change to £4.95 at the meeting.
To make it even more laughable, Ashley even confirmed that he had voted in favour of the £14.95 charge in the first place! The NUFC owner feeble in claiming he had no choice as no other alternative, leading fans to ask why didn’t he then propose £4.95 in the first place?
Only Leicester can hold their heads high as they were the only ones to vote against the £14.95 charge.
The other 19 clubs happy to go with the £14.95 price until now having to accept that it will never see enough fans paying that price to make it a money spinner, then also the problem that it has turned into a PR disaster for the broadcasters and the owners of the 19 Premier League clubs that aren’t Leicester.
So up steps man of the people Mike Ashley with his PR spin statement and then guess who turns up on Ashley’s favourite medium to get his messages across…
Keith Bishop talking to Sky Sports:
“After a terrible time with Covid, people losing their livelihoods and their jobs…
“And a lot of people see football as a light relief.
“And I know Mike [Ashley] wants to make football more affordable for them.
“For sure he’s going to hope for full support on this.
“It is the right thing to do.
“To make football more affordable for the people at this particular time.
“And I’m sure he will be wanting full support for it.”
Quite incredible isn’t it?
Keith Bishop saying Mike Ashley is putting forward this change to PPV because: ‘It is the right thing to do.’
You quite literally couldn’t make it up.
The right thing to do?
Mike Ashley is sitting on over £7m of money paid by Newcastle fans for 2020/21 season tickets and is refusing to pay any of it back. Thousands paid the full season ticket price over seven months ago, whilst Ashley continues to take monthly payments by direct debit off thousands of others.
NUST reported that over 18,000 Newcastle fans were affected.
Keith Bishop says Mike Ashley is only concerned about making the PPV matches affordable for fans who have been so badly affected financially. Well, if that is the case, why doesn’t he repay the 18,000 Newcastle fans their season ticket money, or at least do it pro rata match by match as the likes of Southampton are doing?
Mike Ashley, the only Premier League club owner (after Norwich were relegated) to have taken furlough money from the taxpayer to pay most of his staff at Newcastle United. According to the Chronicle, Ashley still has many NUFC staff on furlough.
As well as that, Mike Ashley reportedly refused to keep on paying casual staff when football was suspended last season, unlike many other PL clubs.
As for the money owed to fans last season from matches not played, Mike Ashley reluctantly eventually refunded the money, the very last of the 20 PL clubs to do so.
As for the money he is sitting on from 18,000 season ticket holders this season, Mike Ashley is refusing to even allow communication from the club, to tell them what is happening.
Yet Ashley and his underling Keith Bishop want you to believe that this statement was released last night because the NUFC owner wants to do the right thing???
You can’t legislate for outsiders and the media BUT if any Newcastle fans after 14 seasons of Mike Ashley, think in any way he is doing something because he cares about supporters, you really need to get help.
Mike Ashley official statement released via Newcastle United – 26 October 2020:
Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, has issued the following statement in relation to the Premier League’s current pay-per-view arrangements:
“I am calling on the Premier League to immediately act and review its current pay-per-view arrangements for live matches in the UK.
“Charging £14.95 for single televised matches in the current climate it is not acceptable to any football fan.
“Supporters have overwhelmingly rejected this offer and the Premier League must now act.
“Why not make it much more accessible at £4.95 per match until Christmas?
“The Government should waive VAT on the above pay-per-view matches so that as many of those who are unable to attend matches in person can at least watch their team.
“The profit from the above reduced-price pay-per-view option, I would suggest that 50% would be retained by Premier League and 50% would go to the football pyramid below.
“As a club, Newcastle United did vote in favour of the pay-per-view proposal, but to be clear, this was because there were no realistic or any viable alternatives put forward to enable supporters to watch matches.”
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