How much does a billionaire carry in his pockets? If Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is anything to go by – loads. Absolutely loads.
The under-fire Sports Direct boss produced a chunky wad of £50 notes as he underwent a mock security check at the entrance of his company’s Shirebrook warehouse headquarters.
The 51-year-old, who is regarded of something of a panto villain in the eyes of Geordies, was leading journalists and investors on a tour of the Derbyshire warehouse, after a scathing investigation into the business found that staff were being subjected to poor working conditions and some were receiving pay below the minimum wage.
But Ashley was flashing the cash for the cameras as he pulled out a heavy roll of notes. It didn’t go unnoticed by reporters, as one noted: “That’s a lot of cash there.” Quick to rebuff any theories that he might he carrying around half of the Moussa Sissoko fund in his trouser pocket, the Rangers shareholder jokingly replied: “Yes, I’ve been to the casino.” He immediately added: “No, don’t please write that.” Smooth.
Mike Ashley gets searched… Yes. That is a massive wad of £50 notes he just took out his pocket pic.twitter.com/zV78Qdfmec
— Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 7, 2016
The irony of a unbelievably wealthy man bringing that much money into a place where staff were until recently paid less than minimum wage was not missed by social media commenters.
That time Mike Ashley confused a warehouse with Vegas https://t.co/DDsRPKJx1A
— Ian Silvera (@ianjsilvera) September 7, 2016
To recap, Mike Ashley's PR drive involved visiting the warehouse where staff were paid below min wage and producing a huge wad of £50 notes
— Marcus Leroux (@marcusleroux) September 7, 2016
— Daniel White (@danwhitepr) September 7, 2016
Mike Ashley is a walking parody https://t.co/ZtOet0aAk2
— Richard (@rtrn94) September 7, 2016
walk up in the club like https://t.co/2UX0TQxEW1
— Alan White (@aljwhite) September 7, 2016
Rob Elliot's contract extension and subsequent wage increase will be paid in fifty quid notes straight from Mike Ashley's pocket.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) September 7, 2016
With Sports Direct currently in the public eye, Mike Ashley has recently abandoned his “six strikes and you’re out policy” which threatened staff with sackings if they committed trivial offences such as taking to colleagues or taking long toilet breaks. He’s also getting rid of zero-hour contracts and promising to ensure all staff are paid above the national minimum wage.