Tycoon Mike Ashley has been uncharacteristically quiet of late. Is it a coincidence that in the absence of his often controversial comments and deals, Sports Direct’s share price has been on the up?

At 140.5p, the stock has lost more than half its value since the March IPO so many investors, while grateful for any upward movement, won’t be getting too excited.

The retailer has been buying back shares, which has lent some support to the price, but the long-term picture still looks cloudy. How long will it be before normal service is resumed and Ashley prompts another furore?

Pali International’s Nick Bubb holds out little hope. He rates Sports Direct a sell, with a target price of 125p and can envisage Ashley buying the business back on the cheap.

Ashley has said that he thinks the share price will be nearer 800p than 80p over the next three years. The next chance shareholders will have to judge the likelihood of that comes on September 10, at the AGM.