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Mike Ashley - "I Probably Shouldn't Own a Football Club"

Ashley - 'I could own Newcastle United forever' words no Newcastle United supporter wanted to hear.

2015 Barclays Premier League Newcastle v West Ham May 24th Photo by Peter Haygarth/ActionPlus/Corbis via Getty Images

Mike Ashley's interview with Mail Sport produced more questions than answers.

In fact, there were very few truths to appear from the Newcastle United owner's interview.

Commenting on Tottenham Hotspur's new shirt deal worth £45m a season, Ashley stated:

‘That is many, many times what Newcastle can get. We’re not near that – nobody is, outside the top six. And I’m being told Liverpool could get £100m for the same deal.'

Ashley failed to mention that the value of the shirt sponsorship is a direct link to the performance of a team both on and off the pitch, resulting in exposure around the world.

Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Tottenham have been in European competition consistently over the last number of years, whereas Newcastle have appeared in Europe once in the last seven seasons.

In fact, before Ashley purchased the club in 2007, Newcastle's shirt deal was worth more than that of Tottenham's. This is a clear sign of how badly the club is being run compared to Tottenham.

The Newcastle owner was baffled by supporters repeatedly asking "Where's the money gone?" Sports Direct continued to benefit from free advertising at St. James' Park. It was only two seasons ago that Ashley agreed to Sport Direct paying £1m then £2m for the 18/19 campaign.

Newcastle United v Cardiff City - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Newcastle supporters do not think they should be challenging for a place in the top four. This is a very outdated opinion and one which is completely inaccurate. Newcastle supporters want the club to at least compete with the likes of Everton, Wolves, Bournemouth and Leicester. Teams that Newcastle were streets ahead of before Ashley owned the club.

The Sports Direct tycoon has convinced himself that he needs to invest billions, not millions, for Newcastle to compete. That may be true to compete with the world's top clubs, however, Ashley is wealthy enough to compete with the teams mentioned previously.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United Fans at St. James’ Park Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

Newcastle are preparing for their third consecutive season back in England's top division, benefiting from a healthier income. The club earned a staggering £238.2m in prize money during that time.

Over the twelve years of Ashley's ownership, Newcastle's net spend is under £5m. That is one of the many reasons the club will continue to fall behind.

It's all very well making Newcastle United 'self-sufficient' but Ashley must open his eyes to modern day football. Little investment leads to little progression. As a businessman, Ashley should know that.

To add insult to injury for Newcastle supporters, the club's online merchandising is actually owned by Sports Direct.

Ashley continues to apologise for the mistakes he's made in the past, stating he would learn from them. However, Ashley continues to make similar mistakes. It's all very deja vu.

Ashley insisted that it was 'impossible' to keep former manager Rafael Benitez at the club. According to Ashley, the Spaniard chose the 'Soft option' to leave the club. As a football fan, Ashley would know that Benitez wouldn't settle for scraps.

Promises were broken, Ashley had stated that 'every penny the club generates' would be given to Benitez. That simply wasn't the case. The former Liverpool manager had to wheel and deal in the transfer market, often settling for his eighth or ninth choice.

Fulham FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images

There is no doubt that Benitez wanted to remain on Tyneside. All the club had to do was meet Benitez's realistic ambitions. They were by no means lofty ambitions, investment in the training ground and academy as well as being able to have full backing on transfers.

If Ashley is to continue to own the club, he must try to right the wrongs. There has been a distinct lack of interest on his part, he has distanced himself from the club which has resulted in the supporters receiving no communication.

This summer has been a prime example for the lack of communication. Supporters were desperate to get answers regarding a potential takeover and the future of their much adored manager. All the supporters got was radio silence.

At the start of any new relationship trust must be gained. Ashley failed to gain that trust. The relationship was destined for disaster before it really began.

Newcastle United v Leicester City - Premier League - St James’ Park Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Newcastle supporters are not hard to please. They're intelligent, they know what's realistic for their club. Similar with Benitez, the club are not meeting the realistic ambitions of the supporters. All they want is a team that cares, one they can be proud of as the bellow Blaydon Races from the stands. Benitez had started to build that.

Ashley admitted his PR was "Very bad". The Sports Direct tycoon should sit down with the NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) to hear what they have to say. That would go a small way to repairing the damage he's caused. Albeit a very small way.

If Ashley is serious about giving it one last try at Newcastle, he must listen to the supporters, without them there isn't a football club left.