Mike Ashley didn’t bother coming to St James Park on the final day of the season.
In fact Mike Ashley didn’t bother coming to a game at St James Park since the opening defeat to Tottenham, the weekend when his interview undermining Rafa Benitez was aired by his mates at Sky Sports.
Well you say ‘interview’ but it was an absolute disgrace as Ashley’s friend, David Craig of Sky Sports, simply gave a platform for the Newcastle United owner to try and justify why he was given the Newcastle manager minimal backing in the transfer market.
Moving back forward to 13 May 2018 and the 3-0 victory over Chelsea, whilst he didn’t bother turning up in person, immediately after the final whistle the club published a statement from Mike Ashley (see below).
That statement felt like a joke at the time after everything that had gone on and Ashley refusing to even allow Rafa to buy anybody in the January as the squad fought relegation. The manager only allowed loan signings.
Two lines in that Mike Ashley statement really stand out, especially taking into account what has happened since.
“I would like to thank the fans for their unrivalled support of Rafa and the team throughout the season.”
Mike Ashley has shown his thanks to those supporters by in increasing season ticket prices in every stand at St James Park, despite almost every other club once again freezing their prices.
Then followed that up by charging fans top dollar £65 for the new home shirt at both Sports Direct and at NUFC, a whopping £112 for the full kit.
“Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.”
We have now had confirmed by Rafa Benitez today, in interviews with the likes of Sky Sports and BBC Newcastle, that what ‘full support’ and ‘every penny’ actually is in reality, is hardly a penny to spend and he can only buy players in these remaining three weeks if he manages to sell some of his current players.
Mike Ashley said in May he isn’t a ‘pantomime villain’, and indeed he is not, he is something far far worse than that.
Sunday 13 May 2018:
Official Mike Ashley Announcement via Newcastle United:
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has thanked Rafa Benítez, the players and the club’s supporters following the club’s tenth-place finish in the Premier League.
The Magpies secured a place in the top half with a 3-0 victory over Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
The owner said:
“I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season.
“I would also like to applaud the players, led fantastically by the captain Jamaal Lascelles.
“On many occasions throughout the season they have been described as a Championship side, which I personally consider to be derogatory.
“Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.
“I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United.
“Finally, I would like to thank the fans for their unrivalled support of Rafa and the team throughout the season.”