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The ups and downs of having your very own billionaire! By Barry J. Hindmarch The first I heard of the arrival of Mike Ashley was when my friend Smog Monster texted me to say, “You have been taken over by a billionaire.” That was all. At first I thought it was a joke of some sort, especially as it came from a Middlesbrough fan, but a quick check soon showed it to be true. It seemed that the long suffering Newcastle fans finally had their wish – the evil empire of the Shepherds was over, and the knight in shining armour Sir Ashley of Mike had arrived to set us back on the path started by Sir John Hall in the early 90’s. Sure, nobody knew anything about him – the media called him “reclusive”, but we did know he was from darn sarf, possibly a Spurs supporter, and more importantly he was a self-made billionaire who owned Sports Direct. The Entertainers Mark 2 was coming! Ashley further endeared himself to the Geordie public with his much-publicised beer drinking with the fans in the Bigg Market, sharing the banter and buying a few rounds.