Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given has given a damning assessment of the Magpies' owner Mike Ashley, as he has revealed the 53-year-old looked to cash in on any player he could make a profit from.
The 41-year-old stopper made over 350 appearances for Newcastle during his 12-year spell and he has welcomed the potential takeover from Amanda Staveley’s PCP Partners for a deal worth an estimated £300m.
In an exclusive interview with betsafe.com, Given offered his thoughts on Newcastle's controversial owner: "He [Mike Ashley] will leave memories but not all particularly good memories..with changing the name of the stadium to Sports Direct, different things he’s said about the fans.
"At the start he was in with the fans, drinking and celebrating with them but he’s not been seen at St James’ Park for a while now.
"There was the time James Milner left the club and he was supposed to have asked for a transfer request, similar to my own situation, and basically the club were just trying to get as much money for him as they could. If Mike Ashley could see a profit in any player, they were for sale.
Although negotiations are ongoing between Staveley and Ashley, it did not stop the former Republic of Ireland international from expressing his excitement over the deal which could go a long way in ensuring manager Rafa Benitez stays with the club.
He added: "It will be great news if it does go through and the quicker the better. Everyone is looking to January and how much Rafa Benitez is going to have to spend and how much the new consortium is going to give him to spend.
"One of the reasons the consortium has come in is because they’ve got a great manager in place. They’ll have done their due diligence and Rafa’s a big part of that.
"He’s a world-renowned manager, he’s been to Real Madrid, he’s been to Liverpool and he’s won the European Cup."
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