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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
1Liverpool35277179205988
2Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal34206868432566
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd34197863481564
7Watford35148135050050
8Everton35147145044649
9Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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