Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ashley Talked of Past, but Future Is Important Thing; WORLD NOW KNOWS BUDGET RAFA HAS TO WORK WITH

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ashley Talked of Past, but Future Is Important Thing; WORLD NOW KNOWS BUDGET RAFA HAS TO WORK WITH

Article excerpt

Byline: LEERYDER

AS Mike Ashley's rare interview about his time in charge of Newcastle United was being rolled out to the rest of the nation on prime time Sunday night TV, the Toon Army were picking up the pieces of an opening-day defeat against Spurs.

The Ashley interview on Sky Sports resulted in the club's owner offering some insight into his 10 years as United supremo. And even if you disagreed with some of answers, he can't be criticised for going public with his views. Ashley has never taken part in an open Press conference during his decade in charge and despite some conjecture that the Sports Direct magnate has close relationships with the local media, the only senior club officials to face questions have been Chris Mort - who held regular briefings before leaving in 2008 - Derek Llambias and current managing director Lee Charnley.

The main headline to emerge from Ashley's interview was there isn't much money to spend this summer, and Rafa Benitez must effectively sell to buy.

Benitez didn't get much of a mention during the piece with Sky's David Craig and there were some peculiar mentions of two men that left the club under a cloud during the Ashley era in Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan.

Ashley even offered an apology to Keegan almost a decade on since the pair fell out and ended up in a court battle, while Shearer was even talked up as a future boss, despite never hearing back from the club after offering them an action plan following relegation in 2009. Currently, there's talk on Tyneside of United wanting to improve their relationship with Shearer ahead of the club's 125-year anniversary.

The club's all-time top scorer's name may no longer be above the stadium's most prominent bar at St James', but the former England skipper's personal branding certainly hasn't been affected since he left the club in 2009. …

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