Newcastle United: Mike Ashley blamed by fans' group

By Timothy AbrahamBBC Sport
Mike Ashley
Businessman Mike Ashley bought Newcastle in May 2007

A Newcastle United fans' group claims the club will always struggle while owner Mike Ashley is in charge despite a summer of heavy investment.

The Magpies are Europe's sixth biggest net spenders in the transfer market, but are 19th in the Premier League.

Magpies manager Steve McClaren is under pressure after their third-round League Cup exit to Sheffield Wednesday.

"This is not an early blip, this is a habit. This is what we accept as normal," the ashleyout.comexternal-link group said.

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Newcastle have two points from six games going into the visit of Chelsea on Saturday even though McClaren, 54, has strengthened the squad in bid to prevent a repeat of last season's relegation battle.

Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, forward Aleksandar Mitrovic and winger Florian Thauvin were all signed for £12m or more, while defender Chancel Mbemba joined for a reported £8.4m. posters
Newcastle fans protested at Mike Ashley's running of the club last season

McClaren, who succeeded John Carver as manager in the summer, acknowledged Newcastle were "close to a crisis" following their defeat by the Owls on Wednesday.

The protest group, which staged a number of demonstrations last season, believe the root of Newcastle's problems is with 51-year-old businessman Ashley rather than the former England manager.

"We have kept quiet as the new manager settles. But in September we watched our club throw away a chance at silverware again," it added.

"We may only be six weeks into the season, but we're eight years into Ashley's tenure."

Ashley said in May he will be staying at St James' Park until Newcastle win a trophy or qualify for the Champions League.

Top teams by transfer incomeTop teams by positive balanceTop teams by negative balance
Monaco £147mMonaco £87.6mManchester City -£120.1m
Atletico Madrid £76.8mWolfsburg £33.3mParis St-Germain -£71.6m
Wolfsburg £74.6mPalermo £31.9mManchester United -£67.3m
FC Porto £72.4mMalaga £21.7mMilan -£58.7m
Inter £71mSevilla £21mReal Madrid -£53.5m
Liverpool £70.3mHoffenheim £19.6mNewcastle United -£47.7m

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