Newcastle fans protest against Mike Ashley in city centre
Last Updated: 11/08/18 4:41pm
Newcastle fans gathered in their hundreds outside one of owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct city centre stores in protest at his stewardship of the club.
The Magpie Group, who describe themselves as a network of Newcastle United supporter groups, organised the gathering outside the Sports Direct shop on Northumberland Street ahead of Saturday's lunchtime clash with Tottenham.
The protest was an audible and visible display of displeasure against the Newcastle owner, who bought the club back in 2007. At one stage fans blocked the entrance of the Northumberland Street store, unfurling a banner which read 'Mike Ashley is one man, we are a city. If you love United, stand united'.
Asked about the atmosphere, manager Rafael Benitez said: "I said that after the window was closed, we cannot change anything. My job is to be sure that the players give everything, and the fans have to be behind the team like they were last year and they were today.
"The message we have tried to give is very clear - focus on the pitch, focus on football."
Ashley promised Benitez he could spend every penny that the club generates, yet despite a respectable 10th-place Premier League finish, Newcastle have made a profit on their summer transfer dealings.
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez, captain Jamaal Lascelles and managing director Lee Charnley wrote an open letter to the fans on Friday calling for unity but that did not stop Saturday's protest from going ahead.
Hit play on the video above to watch footage from the protest.