Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Insist Ashley Will Not Select Team; Magpies Refute Barton's Criticisms

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Insist Ashley Will Not Select Team; Magpies Refute Barton's Criticisms

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Newcastle United editor

NEWCASTLE United have re-affirmed their head coach will always have absolute control over team selection after a day of controversy surrounding the quintet of loan players who have arrived at Rangers from St James' Park. The transfer of Gael Bigirimana, Shane Ferguson, Haris Vuckic, Kevin Mbabu and Remie Streete to Ibrox has caused a storm of controversy north of the border, where the Scottish Football Association are already asking questions about Mike Ashley's influence over two big clubs.

United's decision to loan the quintet has been viewed with suspicion and the revelation all five are required to start if fit has raised the level of discomfort over Ashley holding sway at both clubs.

Rangers' chief Kenny McDowall said chief executive Derek Llambias and football board chairman Sandy Easdale - both Ashley allies - had instructed him all five must play for the promotion-chasing Glasgow out-fit if they are fit.

Llambias subsequently rubbished claims he was 'picking the team'.

That was followed by incendiary claims from former Newcastle mid-fielder Joey Barton - first on radio and then repeated on Twitter - Ashley was seeking "a say" in team selection at St James' Park and Ibrox. Newcastle insist those claims are incorrect and whoever is head coach will have a "contractual term" that they are responsible for team selection.

Every candidate spoken to about the role, including John Carver, has been given that assurance.

United sources also say Ashley has Turn to Page 50 FROM BACK PAGE never made any attempt to influence team selection and it has never been an accusation levelled at the owner by any of the managers who have worked under him.

The QPR midfielder had written on Twitter: "Interesting developments at Glasgow Rangers. As I said on @bbc5live Mike Ashley wants a say in team selection at NUFC and GR...

"Makes it difficult to hold head coach/manager totally accountable if things don't go to play.

"This is creeping into the modern game nowadays.

"Interested to see if people think it's a good thing? What would you like at your club? …

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