Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sports Direct, 85% of whose staff are on zero-hours contracts.

This patina of success reflects the story of Newcastle United, the 25th richest football club in the world in terms of annual revenue, 
who in 2010 were restored to the Premier League. 
But other aspects of their recent history speak of more troubling aspects of life in the city. The club’s owner – none too popular with many fans, and said to be preparing to sell up – is Mike Ashley, the billionaire behind the retail chain 

The team’s shirts once bore the insignia of Northern Rock, the north-east institution whose demise kicked off the financial crash in Britain; they now feature the logo of the payday lenders Wonga – which even adorned replica kits for children
 (until they recently decided that this was not quite in keeping with the ethics of a “responsible lender”).
 In Newcastle, even the escapist pleasures of sport are weighted with the reminder of dire issues: the £83m that has been taken out of the city’s economy every year by benefit cuts, or the fact that the Northeast has the highest rate of unemployment in the UK.