Rangers retailers Castore have had to bat away accusations they have links to High Street billionaire Mike Ashley ever since they signed a retail contract at Ibrox.
The Gers were infamously hamstrung by poorly weighted retail deals which were said to earn the Ibrox side only 7p from every £1 spent on merchandise.
The Sports Direct retail era at the club is one which still holds trauma for many fans as a Rangers kit boycott took its toll on the club’s rebuild following the events of 2012.
So much so, that when Rangers announced the resolution of all existing kit deals and announced little known retailer Castore as their new kit partner last summer, suspicions were still raised.
When Rangers kit showed up in Sports Direct outlets and online, even more so.
Despite the constant reiteration that Mike Ashley has no role or involvement with Castore whatsoever, once again eyebrows were up when Castore signed a new kit deal with Premier League Newcastle United.
Billionaire owner Ashley is not the most popular figure at St James’ Park and given the history with Rangers, it had plenty putting two and two together and getting five.
“I know that Newcastle people look at everything through a Mike Ashley lens,” Castore co-founder Tom Beahon told the Athletic.
“But there is no story there. There is no correlation between Castore and Mike Ashley.
“The truth is there’s none [no relationship]. Ashley is not a shareholder in Castore. The Rueben Brothers aren’t investors. The answer is definitively no.
“I have all my investors’ numbers, I know them on a first-name basis, and I don’t have Ashley’s number in my phone.
“We’ve partnered with Rangers and Newcastle because of the opportunity, the potential upside, and it’s nothing to do with Ashley.”
Interestingly, Beahon also speaks about wanting to make Newcastle United the retailer’s “flagship club” something which may be of interest to Rangers fans.
The Gers are certainly glad that the club has a fully functioning retail department that brings income to Ibrox but there certainly remains a hesitancy to fully embrace the retailer.
Even if most believe that they’re speaking the truth when it comes to all the talk of Mike Ashley’s involvement.
Despite that, fans were once again disappointed to see Sports Direct undermine a training range launch last month.