Home Lifestyle Hated ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley set to buy iconic sporting venue and could slap Sports Direct branding on it

Hated ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley set to buy iconic sporting venue and could slap Sports Direct branding on it

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Hated ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley set to buy iconic sporting venue and could slap Sports Direct branding on it

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CONTROVERSIAL ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is tipped to buy Headingley and slap Sports Direct branding on Yorkshire’s iconic cricket stadium.

Days after being linked with a bid for League One strugglers Reading, Ashley is expected to purchase the famous Test venue for £23million.

Headingley has been home to Yorkshire CCC since 1891 and hosting England cricket internationals from 1899

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Headingley has been home to Yorkshire CCC since 1891 and hosting England cricket internationals from 1899Credit: Getty
Mike Ashley might put in Sports Direct branding if he buys Headingley

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Mike Ashley might put in Sports Direct branding if he buys HeadingleyCredit: PA

The Mail say financially-stricken Yorkshire County Cricket Club have agreed to sell Headingley to the businessman, including naming rights for 10 years.

Ashley will reportedly fend off interest from the Rajasthan Royals and ex-club chairman Colin Graves to clinch the deal.

It’s understood he’s close to a sale and lease-back arrangement – meaning Yorkshire could clear their debts.

The club are still reeling from being accused of of institutional racism by their former spin bowler Azeem Rafiq two years ago.

But Ashley’s money would enable the club to pay £15.9m owed to the Colin Graves Trust.

The Walsall entrepreneur, 59, owned Newcastle from 2007 to 2021, before finally bowing to years of hostility from Toon fans by selling the club to a Saudi consortium.

Ashley is the chief executive of Frasers Group Pls, formerly Sports Direct International.

And it’s thought branding from that latter chain could adorn Headingley, which has hosted Yorkshire since 1891 and England Tests from 1899.

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The Mail believe Yorkshire are thought to have agreed an option to buy back the ground at a fixed price.

But before then, if the sale goes ahead, the county will play there as tenants – paying rent of around £1m a season.



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