Rafael Benitez says he would be happy for Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to turn up at St James’ Park on Saturday. Ashley, not for the first time, has fallen out of favour with the Geordie faithful after failing to splash the cash during the summer transfer window, something he had promised the manager he would do.
Benitez has been at a stand-off with the owner in recent weeks with the Spanish tactician unwilling to sign a contract extension until he is given assurances that the sportswear magnate shares his ambition.
Ashley sprang something of a surprise when he turned up for last Saturday’s 0-0 Premier League draw at Crystal Palace, the first time he had attended a match since May last year, although the atmosphere could be rather different on Tyneside this weekend with further fan protests against his ownership planned.
However, Benitez insists he would be happy to see him at St James’, saying: “I’m not sure 100 per cent because it depends on him, but if he comes, it’s fine. Good. Positive.
“If the owner wants to be around, that is positive, it has to be positive. I don’t see any problem with that because it means that he cares and is supporting the team. Hopefully that will be the case in the next weeks and months.”