Tycoon’s profits hit by lower attendances at St James’ Park and ‘tough trading environment’ at Sports Direct last year

Newcastle United and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley’s personal investment firm’s profits nearly halved last year after a difficult period for both of his main assets.

Revenues at the billionaire’s Mash Holdings group rose by 2.4% to £3.03bn but pre-tax profits slumped by 47% to £278m in the year to 26 April 2016, as ticket sales fell at Newcastle over a “hugely disappointing season” in which the club was relegated from the Premier League while the retail chain he founded suffered a number of own goals.

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