Mike Ashley's stewardship of Newcastle United - as well as his lack of support to manager Rafa Benitez - will be raised in Parliament today on the back of a new supporter campaign to oust the infamous owner.
The Times report that Labour MP Chi Onwurah, the shadow minister for industrial strategy, science and innovation, whose Newcastle Central constituency includes St. James’ Park, will introduce a petition in the House of Commons stating that Ashley has failed to invest in “players, training facilities and community engagement.”
Onwurah's petition states: "Football is an integral part of Newcastle upon Tyne’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing; notes that fans of Newcastle United are heavily invested both financially and emotionally in the success of the team; further that the current manager Rafa Benítez needs the support of both fans and the club’s owner; further that this support should include investment in players, training facilities and community engagement; and further that the owner Mike Ashley has not made this support forthcoming.
“The Petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to take action to prevent unscrupulous football club owners from exploiting the clubs, their fans and local communities, with particular reference to Mike Ashley and Newcastle United FC.”
I did ask myself it would be more likely to make Ashley 'dig in' but decided that ultimately my job is to represent the views of my constituents, & that is what the petition does.— chi onwurah (@ChiOnwurah) July 24, 2018
The hashtag #IfRafaGoesWeGo has been trending among large swathes of the Toon Army this summer as Ashley has once again failed to adequately supply manager Benitez with transfer funds to support the improvement of the Newcastle squad - despite his promise at the end of last season that he would “continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to [Benítez]."
Instead, the Magpies have only made three signings this summer (Kenedy on loan, Marin Dubravka for £4m and Ki Sung-yueng on a free transfer).
On the other hand, the club have sold Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad for a reported £10.6m and Chancel Mbemba for £8m. But so far, these millions of pennies generated through player sales are yet to be fed back to Benitez for player incomings.