Sports Direct (LON:SPD) has released a statement in which the founder accuses shareholders of stabbing the company in the back.

The statement demonstrates founder Mike Ashley’s anger at shareholders for not supporting ex-chairman Keith Hellawell. Hellawell quit earlier this week as a result of criticism over the company’s corporate governance.

Today, Ashley has erupted with an incredibly direct statement:

“It is blatantly apparent that true entrepreneurs will never be accepted in the public arena. The media circus surrounding Sports Direct […] 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”

At 13:40 BST today, Sports Direct shares were trading at +1.15%.