One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Newcastle Respond To TV Documentary
Newcastle have hit back at suggestions in a television documentary that owner Mike Ashley's Sports Direct business is taking money out of the club.
The Dispatches programme The Secrets of Sports Direct, which was broadcast by Channel 4 on Monday evening, looked at the retail relationship between the sportswear business and the club.
However, officials at St James' Park have accused the programme makers of misleading supporters, who are currently waging a campaign against Ashley which on Saturday spread to Sport Direct when protesters gathered outside its Northumberland Street branch in the city.
In a statement, the club said:
"For the purpose of clarity, we can reconfirm that 100% of the income from goods bought in the club's official stores and on its website are received by the club and not Sports Direct, as the Dispatches programme claimed."
"The only money paid by the club to Sports Direct is for the stock (at cost price), plus a handling fee. This represents far better value than the costs the club historically incurred in relation to purchasing, storage and distribution."
"In fact, the change to our retail operating structure introduced in February 2013, which saw us partner with Sports Direct, increased the profit margin by over 50%. This benefits the club hugely."
``In simple terms, the club receives more money as a result of this relationship.''
Fans have stayed away in their thousands from Newcastle's last two home games after campaigners called for a boycott in response to the news that the club banked more than £4million in addition to recording profits of £18.7million during the last financial year amid anger over a perceived lack of investment in the playing staff.
The Magpies have lost their last seven league games - the first time they have done so in the Barclays Premier League - and are in danger of being sucked into the thick of a relegation battle as a result.
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