"You can't fault Mike" Kevin Nolan speaks out in support of Newcastle owner

Newcastle United fans won't enjoy this

Mike Ashley has never been a popular figure on Tyneside since completing his purchase of Newcastle United twelve years ago.

The Magpies have been relegated twice under his ownership and there's been a number of controversial decisions and comments made by him which has led to various fan protests and demonstrations.

The supporters have called for him to sell the club and he hasn't hidden his intention to do that if the right buyer comes along, but as of yet no interested parties have been able to strike a deal with him.

It can't be stressed enough how desperate the fans are for him to move on and the last few weeks have seen their hatred for him rise to new levels, following the departure of cult hero and St. James' Park favourite Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez
The loss of Rafa Benitez was an absolute hammerblow to Newcastle United

The Spaniard did a remarkable job in the most difficult of circumstances in the north east, taking them up from the Championship as title winners and consolidating their place in the Premier League.

Rafa didn't hide his desire to remain at Newcastle but he said that Ashley had to back his vision for the club if he was to remain and sadly for the supporters, this happened to be the case.

Benitez walked away from the club upon the expiry of his contract on 1st July and he's yet to be replaced, with the club looking in the most worrying state it has done for a few years.

Nolan speaks to talkSPORT

Relegation could be a worryingly realistic prospect under Ashley once again but this hasn't stopped one former player coming out in defence of the controversial owner. Kevin Nolan skippered the Magpies and was something of a fans favourite during his two year stay on Tyneside, but his recent comments have not gone down well.

When talking to talkSPORT, the 37 year-old claimed “You can’t fault Mike, I feel for the fans, and I feel for Mike as well."

“It’s crazy because being a player and knowing Mike and also being close to the fans, I feel torn because I know exactly how hard he is trying to give the Newcastle fans what they want.

“When he first went he had great intentions of putting Newcastle back on the map and obviously he’s lost that now and he wants to sell it, he wants to get out.

“But he’s still be able to finance the club and make sure everything is running smoothly. You go up there and it’s a fantastic club and what he’s done within the ground is fantastic.

Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan skippered Newcastle United to the Championship title in 2010

“The fans want a sale, Mike wants a sale and when that happens everyone will be happy – Mike as well.

Wow... Well where do you begin with this? As someone who skippered Newcastle in the dark days of the Championship he's someone who should fully understand the fans anger, but it appears that he's on the side of the owner. Even in the case of Rafa Benitez:

“The whole Rafa Benitez thing, I think he knew what he was going into when he first walked into that club. Mike is not one to move the goalposts."

“I think Rafa has done quite well in working the media in terms of the way he feels and what he wants.

“But Mike is a businessman; he’s stubborn and he wanted to do it his way.

“I’m sure Mike will give money to the manager who is coming in. It’s one thing he did with Rafa – if he was able to sell I think he was given the money."

But rest easy Newcastle fans, it's not all bad. Nolan thinks despite everything you still have a very good chance of staying in the Premier League. This is despite losing a world class manager, Ayoze Perez to Leicester and Salomon Rondon who looks likely to move on elsewhere. But we don't share his optimism, big changes are needed throughout the club right from the top to bottom.

“And although he is not going to be investing heavily, I think they’ve got a squad good enough to be in the Premier League. That’s the most important thing for Mike, to keep them there so he can get this sale across and they can move on and Mike can move on as well.”

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