Danny Mills claims that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley “can’t help himself” when it comes to the anger towards him from the supporters and that the Magpies could find themselves in a much worse position under different ownership.
The former Leeds and England defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that he understands why the Toon Army are so bitter towards the Sports Direct supremo but claims that an owner with a more open relationship would be spared the resentment in the same situation.
Speculation over Ashley’s ownership has been rife in recent years, with talk of a potential takeover bid from investors led by Peter Kenyon reported by Sky Sports last week.
Mills says that Newcastle fans need to be wary of new owners coming in, highlighting the plights suffered by fellow big clubs Leeds, Aston Villa and Birmingham City over the years.
Asked if Ashley was as bad an owner as the fans made out, Mills told Football Insider: “No, look at the football club, look at what he did originally. Unfortunately, they’ve been up and down.
“He has invested money, not a great deal compared to a lot, but he has got them back into the Premier League, kept them in the Premier League, brought in the likes of Rafa Benitez. You do need to be careful what you wish for in football.
“I understand the fans’ misgivings but there are a lot of clubs who are run worse and have worse owners. Look at what happened at Leeds, look at what happened to Birmingham, Villa for a time. There were a lot of clubs that struggled with poor ownership.
“He’s not perfect by any means, if it was somebody in that situation who had a bit more of a rapport with the fans, I don’t think the vitriol would be anywhere as bad. Mike Ashley can’t help himself, that’s half the problem. That antagonises the fans more than anything else.”
Ashley has been in charge of Newcastle for over a decade, during which there have been two relegations and a number of controversies, with the club officially up for sale for nearly two years.
The Magpies’ have suffered a difficult start to the Premier League season, Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing at Leicester City leaving Steve Bruce and his men sitting second from bottom in the table.
In other Newcastle United news, Darren Bent has told Football Insider that he thinks the Magpies’ best player is frustrated with his teammates.