Rangers: Peter Lovenkrands hails 'great guy' Mike Ashley
Ex-Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands has praised Mike Ashley amid criticism by fans of his Newcastle United ownership and Rangers interests.
The Dane spent four years working under the billionaire during his playing stint at St James' Park.
"He was a great guy," said Lovenkrands, 34. "I got on really well with him. He was one of those chairmen who came to socialise with the players.
"We had a really good time with him at Newcastle."
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust recently wrote to local MPS, sports minister Maria Miller and the Football Association and Premier League in England, to underline their concerns over Ashley's interests in the two clubs.
And Rangers' Union of Fans welcomed the recent Scottish FA decision to block the Sports Direct billionaire's desire to increase his 8.92% stake in the Scottish Championship club to just under 30%.
Lovenkrands was speaking hours after American banker Robert Sarver pulled out of a takeover bid for Rangers, who required a shareholder's loan last month to avoid going into administration.
Ashley must decide his next move at Ibrox and, although he admitted he did not know anything about the Englishman's business interests, Lovenkrands was impressed with him as an individual.
"I had four great years with him at Newcastle and a lot of that was down to the way he was running the club," said the 34-year-old, who played at St James' Park from 2009 to 2012.
"I think he loves football. He's just a down-to-earth guy.
"When the wives would turn up for nights out, he would sit down and have a drink and a joke. You don't get that from many chairmen."
Ashley's business associate and former Newcastle managing director, Derek Llambias, became Rangers' chief executive in December.
"He and Llambias are both like that," added Lovenkrands. "They have run a big club like Newcastle for a few years now and they have not done a bad job, have they?"