Mark Lawrenson says Mike Ashley is a Tottenham fan with no feelings for Newcastle United, which is why Toon fans should expect no favours from him when it comes to selling the club.
Magpies fans are desperate to see an end to Ashley’s time at the club, with Amanda Staveley’s interest in buying it adding fresh hope late last year.
And while that deal might not be completely dead yet, Ashley pulled out of talks in January, claiming negotiations had been a waste of time.
When asked about the situation with Ashley and Newcastle, Lawrenson reflected on the situation telling Football Tips : “I think you have to remember that Mike Ashley is just a businessman. He’s not a Newcastle fan, I think he’s a Tottenham fan in all honesty and even then I’m not quite sure if he is a Tottenham fan,
“I think he probably just likes Tottenham but I don’t think he’s one that would go every week.
“He wants to sell the business, I don’t think he needs to sell the business, I know he’s a very, very good businessman and I would just suggest that the so-called takeover wasn’t offering him as much money as he thought it was worth and the problem with that is that he’s got to get it absolutely right.
“Obviously we know they got relegated, they spent a year in the Championship and it’s horrible in that league, you know my team’s Preston and I know what the game is like and I know what the teams are like and it’s a really difficult league to get out of and he doesn’t want to have to go through that again.
“If you think about it, take 25-30% of what you think the club’s worth because they’re playing in the Championship.
“He’ll just stick to his guns, but he’s not really that interested. You know, he bought the club, he spent money on the club. Obviously the fans think he should spend even more but hey, it’s his money and he makes those decisions and that’s the thing, if one man owns your football club, like him or loathe him, he makes all the decisions.”
With a potential takeover not materialising, Ashley gave manager Rafa Benitez the reins to bring in three players in the final days of the January transfer window.
The Spaniard was able to add Kenedy, Islam Slimani and Martin Dubravka all on loan to aid the club’s battle against relegation.
But BBC pundit Lawrenson is not convinced it improves them too much.
“Not much better,” he said when asked how the additions shaped them now. “Kenedy in the first half at Palace, the boy they’ve got on loan from Chelsea, he’s a bit of a free spirit but he’s a really, really good footballer and Rafa took him off.
“And in all honesty, he probably looked their most skilful player, but then that’s a Rafa thing.
“Slimani is the other they’ve signed who wasn’t quite ready. I really don’t see goals in Newcastle, although against Palace they did commit forward. However, Palace had all sorts of chances and really could and should have won that game.
“I think they’re scrappy and I look at the three promoted, I know you mentioned Newcastle but I think you’ve got to lump in Huddersfield who are obviously just falling, falling, falling, they don’t have goals in them. But Brighton, obviously they signed Ulloa and the boy from PSV, but it looks like Brighton are trying to address the problem. For the promoted teams, it’s always about getting enough goals to win games, not worrying about getting beat by City and Man United by 3 or 4, it’s really about the results against the teams who are in the same position.
“But it’s about goals - goals make the difference in staying in the division and getting relegated and I just look at Newcastle and ask: ‘Am I convinced Slimani will get loads of goals for Newcastle? No I’m not convinced at all.’”
Lawrenson does believe the Magpies will have enough to stay up though - predicting West Brom, Huddersfield and Swansea will be the three to drop.
That said, as someone with strong links to Liverpool - where Rafa really made his name in English football - he’s not convinced the Toon boss will be happy with the season, overall.
Lawrenson said: “Rafa wouldn’t be happy if he had Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Bale has his front five, that’s just Rafa’s way.
“I remember Steven Gerrard saying to me that a few years ago when Rafa was in charge of Liverpool and Stevie G would’ve been in the top three players playing in the Premier League at that time. It was international week and Liverpool had just played at home at Anfield and won and Rafa said to Steven, ‘Just nip down to my office will you I need to have two minutes with you,’ after the game.
“Steven went down and Rafa gave him a DVD and said: ‘Steven just look at that whilst you’re away.’
“And Steven said: ‘Yeah okay”, and do you know what it was? It was all of the mistakes he had made in the game.
“That’s Rafa. He didn’t show him all the wonder goals and all the times he had pulled them up by the boot lacse and won games, it was know your mistakes. That’s Rafa. I bet he’s up all night making them for the Newcastle players this season!”
NEWCASTLE 1 MAN UTD 0 (Ritchie)
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy (Atsu 84), Pérez (Hayden 90+4), Gayle (Joselu 80)
Subs: Murphy, Manquillo, Merino, Darlow
CRYSTAL PALACE 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Diamé)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Diamé (Hayden 65), Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 57), Pérez (Merino 80), Gayle
Subs: Murphy, Dubravka, Manquillo, Lejeune
NEWCASTLE 1 BURNLEY 1 (Lascelles)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Atsu (Murphy 64), Diamé, Merino, Kenedy (Ritchie 72), Pérez (Gayle 85), Joselu
Subs: Shelvey, Gayle, Hayden, Manquillo, Woodman
CHELSEA 3 NEWCASTLE 0
Darlow, Manquillo (Murphy 77), Mbemba, Lascelles, Clark, Haidara, Hayden (Atsu 83), Saivet, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle (Joselu 64),
Subs: Dummett, Diamé, Yedlin, Woodman
MAN CITY 3 NEWCASTLE 1 (Murphy)
Darlow, Manquillo (Yedlin 66), Hayden, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Murphy, Shelvey, Diamé, Atsu (Pérez 64), Joselu (Gayle 76)
Subs: Elliot, Ritchie, Merino, Haidara
NEWCASTLE 1 SWANSEA 1 (Joselu)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey (Merino 82), Diamé, Ritchie, Pérez, Atsu, Gayle (Joselu 64)
Subs: Elliot, Murphy, Hayden, Manquillo, Haidara
FAC NEWCASTLE 3 LUTON TOWN 1 (Perez 2, Shelvey)
Woodman, Manquillo, Lascelles (Hayden 30), Clark, Dummett, Murphy, Shelvey (Diamé 71), Merino (Saivet 81), Ritchie, Pérez, Gayle
Subs: Aarons, Joselu, Haidara, Darlow
STOKE CITY 0 NEWCASTLE 1 (Perez)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Shelvey, Diamé, Murphy (Dummett 82), Atsu (Gayle 64), Ritchie, Pérez (Hayden 90).
Subs: Joselu, Merino, Haidara, Woodman
NEWCASTLE 0 BRIGHTON 0
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Pérez 72), Hayden, Merino (Shelvey 76), Atsu, Joselu (Murphy 84), Gayle
Subs: Diamé, Mbemba, Manquillo, Woodman
NEWCASTLE 0 MAN CITY 1
Elliot, Yedlin, Mbemba (Merino 77), Lascelles, Dummett, Manquillo, Aarons (Atsu 71), Diamé, Shelvey, Murphy, Joselu (Gayle 62).
Sub: Clark, Ritchie, Pérez, Darlow
WEST HAM 2 NEWCASTLE 3 (Saivet, Diamé, Atsu)
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie, Saivet (Mbemba 84'), Diamé, Atsu (Murphy 90+1'), Gayle (Pérez 76'), Joselu
Subs: Dummett, Aarons, Haidara, Darlow
ARSENAL 1 NEWCASTLE 0
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Murphy (Gayle 67), Merino (Diamé 82), Hayden, Atsu (Ritchie 54), Joselu, Pérez
Subs: Clark, Dummett, Aarons, Darlow
NEWCASTLE 0 EVERTON 1
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Merino (Pérez 86), Shelvey, Atsu, Diamé (Joselu 67), Ritchie (Aarons 74), Gayle
Subs: Elliot, Clark, Murphy, Hayden
NEWCASTLE 2 LEICESTER CITY 3 (Joselu, Gayle)
Darlow, Yedlin, LejeuneBooked, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie (Atsu 64), Hayden, Merino, Murphy (Pérez 71), Joselu (Mitrovic 88), Gayle
Subs: Elliot, Lascelles, Shelvey, Diamé
CHELSEA 3 NEWCASTLE 1 (Gayle)
Darlow, Mbemba, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo, Diamé (Shelvey 75), Merino (Yedlin 85), Ritchie, Murphy, Pérez (Hayden 62), Gayle
Subs: Elliot, Aarons, Joselu, Mitrovic
WEST BROM 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Clark, Rondon og)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Mbemba, Hayden (Shelvey 80), Merino, Ritchie, Pérez, Murphy (Aarons 64), Joselu (Mitrovic 73)
Subs: Elliot, Gayle, Diamé, Manquillo
NEWCASTLE 0 WATFORD 3
Elliot, Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diamé (Merino 69), Murphy (Pérez 77), Gayle, Joselu (Mitrovic 69)
Subs: Aarons, Mbemba, Darlow, Gámez
MAN UTD 4 NEWCASTLE 1 (Gayle)
Elliot, Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo, Murphy, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie (Aarons 66), Gayle (Diamé 77), Joselu (Mitrovic 71)
Subs: Pérez, Mbemba, Darlow, Gámez
NEWCASTLE 0 BOURNEMOUTH 1
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles (Clark 55), Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu (Murphy 82), Gayle, Joselu (Pérez 68)
Subs: Diamé, Darlow, Gámez, Mitrovic
BURNLEY 1 NEWCASTLE 0
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Shelvey, Diamé (Gayle 83), Ritchie (Murphy 79), Pérez (Hayden 76), Atsu, Joselu
Subs: Clark, Saivet, Darlow, Gámez
NEWCASTLE 1 CRYSTAL PALACE 0 ((Merino)
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Hayden (Merino 56), Shelvey, Ritchie, Pérez (Diamé 66), Atsu, Joselu (Mitrovic 78)
Subs: Clark, Murphy, Darlow, Gámez
SOUTHAMPTON 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Hayden, Perez)
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu (Murphy 82), Perez (Merino 63), Joselu (Gayle 69).
Subs: Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Diame.
NEWCASTLE 1 LIVERPOOL 1 (Joselu)
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Shelvey, Merino (Hayden 74), Ritchie, Pérez (Diamé 90+1), Atsu, Joselu (Gayle 79)
Subs: Murphy, Lejeune, Darlow, Gámez
BRIGHTON 1 NEWCASTLE 0
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba (Gámez 83'), Hayden (Shelvey 68'), Merino, Ritchie, Pérez, Atsu, Joselu (Gayle 71')
Subs: Murphy, Diamé, Manquillo, Darlow
NEWCASTLE 2 STOKE CITY 1 (Atsu, Lascelles)
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Hayden (Shelveyat 69'), Merino, Ritchie, Pérez (Diamé 86'), Atsu, Joselu (Gayle 78')
Subs: Murphy, Manquillo, Lejeune, Woodman
SWANSEA 0 NEWCASTLE 1 (Lascelles)
Elliot, Manquillo, Clark, Lascelles, Gamez, Hayden (Diame 69), Merino, Ritchie, Perez, Murphy (Atsu 59), Joselu (Gayle 78).
Unused subs: Shelvey, Lejeune, Yedlin, Woodman.
NEWCASTLE 3 WEST HAM 0 (Clark, Joselu, Mitrovic)
Elliot, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Merino, Hayden (Diaméat 82'), Ritchie (Murphy 88'), Pérez, Atsu, Joselu (Mitrovic 72')
Subs: Aarons, Saivet. Gámez, Woodman
LC NEWCASTLE 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 3 (Mitrovic, Aarons)
Darlow; Sterry (Lazaar, 58), Hanley, Mbemba, Gamez; Saivet, Barlaser (Hayden, 70); Murphy, Diame, Aarons (Ritchie, 76); Mitrovic (Joselu, 105).
Subs not used: Woodman, Lascelles, Manquillo.
HUDDERSFIELD 1 NEWCASTLE 0
Elliot, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Hayden (Diame 76), Merino, Atsu, Perez (Murphy 80), Ritchie, Gayle (Joselu 52).
Subs not used: Saivet, Aarons, Darlow, Mitrovic.
NEWCASTLE 0 TOTTENHAM 2
Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune (Mbemba 34'), Clark, Dummett (Lascelles 7'), Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Pérez, Atsu, Gayle (Merinoat 76')
Subs: Murphy, Aarons, Merino, Darlow, Mitrovic
NEWCASTLE 2 HELLAS VERONA 0 (Perez, Atsu)
Elliot (Darlow 64), Manquillo (Gamez 64), Lejeune (Lascelles 64), Clark (Mbemba 64), Dummett (Merino 64), Ritchie, Shelvey (Aarons 64), Hayden, Atsu (Murphy 64), Perez (De Jong 72), Mitrovic (Diame 64)
WOLFSBERG 1 NEWCASTLE 3 (Mitrovic, Ritchie Pen, Atsu)
Elliot (Darlow, 70), Manquillo (Mbemba, 70), Lejeune (Lascelles, 70), Clark, Dummett (Gamez, 70), Ritchie (Murphy, 70), Shelvey, Hayden (Merino, 70), Atsu (Aarons, 70), Perez (de Jong, 70), Mitrovic (Diame, 46).
Subs not used: Colback, Gayle.
MAINZ 2 NEWCASTLE 1 (Gamez)
Darlow (Woodman 60), Yedlin (Manquillo 27), Clark (Mbemba 46), Lejuene (Merino 79), Dummett (Gamez 46), Colback (Shelvey 60), Diame (Perez 60), Murphy (Hayden 60), Ritchie (Aarons 46), De Jong (Atsu 60), Mitrovic (Gayle 60)
BRADFORD CITY 0 NEWCASTLE 4 (Gayle, Murphy 2, Mitrovic)
Elliot (Woodman, 61), Yedlin (Manquillo, 46), Lejeune (Mbemba, 61), Clark (Saivet, 77), Dummett (Gamez, 61), Atsu (De Jong, 61), Shelvey (Aarons, 61), Hayden (Colback, 77), Ritchie (Murphy, 46), Perez (Diame, 46), Gayle (Mitrovic, 61).
PRESTON 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Mitrovic)
Elliot (Darlow, 46, Woodman, 70), Mbemba, Hanley (Yedlin, 46), Lejeune (Manquillo, 77), Dummett (Clark, 46), Atsu (Murphy, 46), Diame (Colback, 46), Shelvey (Hayden, 46), Aarons (Perez, 46), de Jong (Roberts, 62), Mitrovic (Gayle, 46).
HEARTS 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Gayle 2)
Elliot (Woodman 63), Aarons(Gamez 46), Clark (Dummett 46), Mbemba (Hanley 62), Lascelles (Lejeune 46), Haidara (Colback 62), Shelvey (Saivet 46), Diame (Armstrong 62), De Jong (Lazaar 75), Atsu (Perez 46), Gayle (Mitrovic 46)
SATURDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2018
Bournemouth 15:00 Newcastle
SATURDAY, 3 MARCH 2018
Liverpool 17:30 Newcastle
SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2018
Newcastle 15:00 Southampton
FRIDAY, 16 MARCH 2018
Tottenham v Newcastle 20:00