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Mike Ashley defends Newcastle investment

Mike Ashley defends Newcastle investment
© Reuters
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley defends his stewardship of the club in a letter sent to the government last week.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has defended his stewardship of the club in a letter sent to the government last week.

Ashley wrote in the August 3 letter - which was sent to secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Jeremy Wright - that he was being treated like a 'pantomime villain' over his running of the Tyneside team.

The claims are in response to a parliamentary petition raised on July 24 by Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, who called on Ashley to offer more support to Magpies boss Rafael Benitez.

"As owner of Newcastle United, I have provided the club with interest free loans, the outstanding balance of which as at today's date is £144 million, whilst I also cleared all of its third party debts, which stood at £76m in 2006/07 and incurred finance costs of £6.5 million that existed when I purchased the club" Ashley's letter wrote.

"This enabled Newcastle United to establish an affordable ticket pricing policy for fans. This includes a number of season ticket price-freeze schemes, which allow over 20,000 supporters to secure their ticket at a significantly reduced rate every season."

Ashley also stated in the letter that following the petition, employees of his companies had received abuse and intimidation.

The letter is the latest development in a summer of unrest at Newcastle, with players allegedly going on media strike and Benitez admitting that he is unhappy with the business done by the club.

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Mike Ashley pictured in June 2016
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