Wonga meets NUFC fans

As sponsorship deals go, this one has been as controversial as they come. Kenny Toal looks at the Wonga story.

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Mike Ashley bows out of Sports Direct profit-share scheme

Mike Ashley
Credit: PA

Mike Ashley has bowed out of a controversial profit-share scheme which could see 3,000 permanent staff receive a piece of £200m if profits double in 2019.

The scheme recently came under fire from investors groups and the Institute of Directors who were planning to vote against Chairman Keith Hellawell and other board members because they were unhappy with the arrangement.

In a statement on the Sport's Direct website today the company confirms that despite approval from a panel of independent shareholders that he could receive a payout he has - after discussions with the board - decided to refuse his payout.

Keith Hellawell, Non-Executive Chairman of Sports Direct International plc, said:

"The resolution passed by shareholders to implement the 2015 Bonus Share Scheme clearly recognises the success of previous company-wide schemes, and the significant contribution from Mike.

"On behalf of the entire Board, I should like to thank shareholders for the trust and confidence that they have demonstrated towards the team.

"Mike remains fully committed to achieving the scheme's stretch targets. Regarding the allocation of shares, Mike's focus is on ensuring that the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the Company's objectives.

"Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees."

Mike Ashley has not received a salary or any bonus since Sports Direct was floated in 2007 when he received £929m.

Alan Pardew: 'Newcastle have best fans in the world'

Alan Pardew Credit: PA

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has hailed the club's fans the best in the world - even though most of the 2,000 spent Monday night chanting 'six in a row'.

The 3-0 loss was the Magpies' sixth straight Barclays Premier League defeat and supporters continued their campaign to see him removed as manager.

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Oliver Giroud were enough to push Arsenal to the brink of Champions League qualification while, for Newcastle, it appears they are ambling towards a top-half finish. But the Newcastle faithful turned on their manager with chants of "we want Pardew out".

Despite all of that Pardew, who was back on the touchline following a seven-game ban for headbutting Hull's David Meyler, was full of praise for the supporters.

"We've got the best fans in the world," he declared.

More on this story.

Five positions Newcastle must improve.

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NUFC: Pardew reacts to criticism

A minority of Newcastle United supporters were calling for the Manager's head last weekend.

Alan Pardew came under fire as his team lost at Stoke, continuing a dismal sequence of premier league results.

The Magpies boss has had a few days to reflect on the fans anger and today he responded to criticism aimed at him and his team.

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The teachers:

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa joined NUFC on January 22, 2013 Credit: ITV

Mapou Yanga-Mbwia:

Born: May 15, 1989 in Bangui, Central African Republic.

Nationality: French.

Position: Defence, centre back.

Career: Captained Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title in 2012. Three appearances for the France national team. Joined Newcastle United for an undisclosed fee, signing a five and a half year deal on January 22, 2013. He made his debut as a substitute during the club's 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

Mathieu Debuchy joined NUFC on January 4, 2013 Credit: ITV

Mathieu Debuchy:

Born: July 28, 1985 in Fretin, France.

Nationality: French.

Position: Defender, right back.

Career: Began his career at French club Lille before joining Newcastle United on a five and a half year deal on January 4, 2013, for a fee of around £5.5 million. He made his debut against Norwich on January 12. Capped by France 19 times.

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