- Sports Direct founder and chief executive Mike Ashley has let rip on investors, claiming they had 'stabbed him in the back' by 'repeatedly hounding' chairman Keith Hellawell.

In an unusual stock market filing, Ashley claimed the company's shareholders had ignored its good performance and appeared to be unduly influenced by the media and investor advisory groups.

A substantial number of independent shareholders voted against Ashley's re-appointment at the company's annual general meeting this week, while a vote on Hellawell's tenure was withdrawn.

'It is blatantly apparent that true entrepreneurs will never be accepted in the public arena,' Ashley said in the statement.

'The media circus surrounding Sports Direct, including but not restricted to matters connected to our AGM, only proves that whatever progress Sports Direct makes, it will always be subject to disproportionate scrutiny and misrepresentation.'

'In light of the above, and despite the substantial progress made over the last few years, the shareholders have now made it extremely challenging for future engagement to take place.'

'On the one hand they are delighted with our performance and progress, yet with the other hand they have stabbed Sports Direct and myself in the back by repeatedly hounding Keith Hellawell.'

'The people within the Sports Direct group, including House of Fraser, are and will continue to be my number one priority.'

Sports Direct recently made some risky bets on troubled department store chains House of Fraser and Debenhams that had been questioned by investors.

Sports Direct International PLC share price was +3.45p at 352.65p

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