beIN SPORTS pundit Andy Gray has backed Newcastle owner Mike Ashley in his ongoing feud with Rafa Benitez and the fans, suggesting that the fans do not know what they want from Ashely.
Newcastle has only picked up one point from their opening two Premier League games, amid increasing fan frustration that the club did not spend big to attract players to the club and build from their encouraging tenth place finish last season.
Gray opens the interview suggesting that Newcastle fans have big expectations, especially in relation to the major trophies the Magpies have won over the years.
“You have to be very careful because Newcastle fans have an expectancy maybe beyond what they should have.”
They haven’t won a domestic trophy since 1955, that’s a long time since they haven’t won any trophy since the Fairs cup in 1968.
“Yet they (the fans) still think they are entitled to whatever Mike Ashley has got, whatever his millions are. I think Mike Ashley has done a really good job with them, they finished tenth last year.”
Whilst Gray further backed Ashley further insisting that the millionaire owner has spent money on players to help Newcastle finish tenth and backed Rafa again this summer with more signings to strengthen the squad.
“I heard last year that Mike Ashley was ridiculous he didn’t give Rafa enough money they were this, they were that they finished tenth. Rafa spent more money and brought more players in and they might finish ninth this year. I dunno what they want. Do they want Mike Ashley to say here’s a quarter of a billion pounds of my money you can have it and spend it how you want Rafa, it’s not going to happen, It’s not going to happen.”
“If you look at the investment he’s made in Newcastle I don’t get the stick he gets I really don’t. Then again, I’m not up there seven days a week the way the Newcastle fans are. I don’t know what they want from Mike I really don’t. He’s brought in Rafa Benitez he gets no praise for that, he brought him in he was the man that said I’m going to bring Rafa Benitez into the club and yet he gets no credit for that.”
Added the former Scottish international, noting that Ashley is never praised for his role in bringing Benitez to Tyneside.
Gray did admit however that Newcastle will always find it tough to bring in the best players to compete in the upper end of the Premier League.
“It’s a difficult place to attract the very best players because most of the foreign players that come to the Uk want to play in London, Manchester or Liverpool they don’t want to play in the North East of England. So it’s difficult to attract the very best players up there.”
Concluding, Gray suggested that Newcastle fans should settle for a push in the cups and a top half finish in the Premier League as the clubs best level.
“If they finish between sixth and tenth most years and win a cup or have a cup run unless they do a Leicester and surprise us all, I think that’s where they are.”