MX23RW : Friday, January 18 08:02:54

Rio Ferdinand sparks outrage after defending Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Rio Ferdinand sparks outrage after defending Newcastle owner Mike Ashley
© Reuters
The BT Sport pundit also described Newcastle as a 'yo-yo club'.

Rio Ferdinand has been widely criticised for defending Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's running of the club.

The retired defender was working for BT Sport as a pundit ahead of the Magpies' game at Chelsea on Saturday when presenter Jake Humphrey asked him for his opinion.

"It's got nothing to do with business dealings I've got with his company," said Ferdinand, whose Five brand is available to buy at Sports Direct, a sports-goods retailer founded by Ashley.

"I just think that when they went down, he spent £50-odd million to get them back up, of his own money. 'Thank you', that should be."

Humphrey questioned Ferdinand's comments, asking: "Wasn't it Newcastle's money that they generated in their time in the Premier League?" to which Ferdinand replied: "Well, he's the owner."

The 40-year-old went on to say Newcastle fans should be grateful Ashley appointed Rafael Benitez as manager, also describing the north-east side as "a yo-yo club" and adding: "He wants to sell the club, why should he go and spend millions of pounds?"

The video received thousands of replies from angry fans of Newcastle as well as supporters of other teams.

Newcastle had the lowest net spend in the Premier League during pre-season, and currently find themselves in the relegation zone after a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

The club also reportedly turned a profit last summer thanks to player sales.

Ferdinand appeared to double down on his comments on Sunday however, tweeting: "@NUFC fans good morning to you all!! Ya clubs turning a profit, no debt, oh and playing in the PL! Terrible!"

Ashley has been in control of Newcastle United for more than a decade, and has so far failed in his attempts to sell the club.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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