Mike Ashley ‘just a huge Dickens fan’

22-07-16

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock (5717792f) Founder and Deputy Executive Chairman of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, leaves Portcullis House in London flanked by police after giving evidence to a Business, Innovation and Skills Committee about treatment of low-paid staff.. Sports Direct House of Commons inquiry, London, Britain - 07 Jun 2016

SPORTS Direct boss Mike Ashley runs his business like a Victorian workhouse as a homage to his favourite writer Charles Dickens. 

The Sports Direct founder has admitted that he only wanted to recreate conditions of abject Victorian poverty so he could see for himself what life was like in the works of the author.

He said: “I’ve got a calf-bound first edition of Little Dorrit, I’ve got The Old Curiosity Shop in all the original periodicals, and I’ve got controlling interests in six orphanages and a gruel factory.

“My dream was always to give ordinary people the opportunity to experience terrible, crushing deprivation which they could then either escape to live happy, virtuous lives or die in, nobly and tragically.

“I’ve modelled myself on Mr Bumble from Oliver Twist, on a strict dietary regime that means I never drop below 18 stone, and I’m incredibly heartless and cruel at all times.

“It’s so authentic. My only regret is that I’m struggling to reach my target of ten per cent of the workforce dying of consumption.”

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