Mike Ashley: 'I was very naive at beginning of Newcastle United tenure'

Ashley: 'I was naive in the beginning'
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Mike Ashley admits that he was naive in his early days as Newcastle United owner and says he has felt stupid in the past at some "unacceptable" happenings at the club.

Mike Ashley has claimed that he was naive in his early days as Newcastle United owner and admits he has felt stupid in the past at some "unacceptable" happenings at the club.

Having clocked up 10 years at the helm of the Magpies, the 52-year-old continues to divide opinion among the club's fanbase.

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Ashley claims that he was too hasty to part company with Sam Allardyce in 2008 after buying the club, and should not have changed the name of the stadium to the Sports Direct Arena.

When asked to describe himself throughout his 10-year stint, Ashley said: "Very naive in the beginning. In the middle I thought I was just about beginning to get my arms around it a little bit, we had a manager on an eight-year contract (Alan Pardew).

"We had the finance right, talked about investing in the training ground and the academy, we had a strategy, buying young talent and developing. That was around 2013, 2014, going along quite well, and then within 18 months the wheels had come off, going back to really having to start at the beginning again,

"I probably rushed in too early. The first thing, letting Sam Allardyce go, I was probably too keen to get going and make a difference, and I was a bit naive about how football worked. The first thing you feel is stupidity, because as soon as you know the hindsight of something, you know what you were doing wrong."

Newcastle get their Premier League campaign underway on Sunday when they host Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park.

Eagles manager Alan Pardew watches on during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Southampton on December 3, 2016
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