Ashley slammed after claiming Newcastle can’t compete financially

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s claim that he is unable to compete financially with clubs like Manchester City has met with a barrage of criticism.

Ashley had assured manager Rafa Benitez that he could strengthen his squad on their return to the Premier League this season, but the Spaniard has said he is “not happy” with Newcastle’s transfer business so far this summer.

Benitez has signed Jacob Murphy for £12 million from Norwich and Florian Lejeune from Eibar for £8.7m, but the Spaniard is frustrated that more has not been done to improve last season’s Championship-winning side.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Ashley said the club does not generate enough money meaning there is a limit on what Benitez can spend.

“It’s very simple, it’s not enough – Rafa knows that and it’s not a secret,” he said.

“Every penny the club generates he can have, but it won’t generate enough. Newcastle United does not have a £40m-a-year stadium naming rights deal.

“I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think ‘that’s great Rafa is getting £150m in the morning’ – he’s not.

“Rafa has (managing director) Lee Charnley’s help. And Lee Charnley answers to Rafa and not the other way around, let’s make that crystal clear.

“Rafa makes all the final decisions on players out and players in, but he has to do it with the money the club has.”

Ahead of Sunday’s opening game against Tottenham Hotspur, fans have hit out at Ashley and demanded he does more to support Benitez in the transfer market.

Sportslens takes a look at the reaction to Ashley’s comments.

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