'He's managed to get fans of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester United and even Sunderland sticking up for us': Newcastle fans react to Rio Ferdinand's Mike Ashley comments
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand sparked a huge reaction on Saturday night following his comments about Newcastle United and their owner Mike Ashley.
Ferdinand, who was a pundit on BT Sport during the Magpies' Premier League fixture with Chelsea, defended the way Ashley is running the club, despite the current unrest at St James's Park.
"I don't even know him [Mike Ashley] very well," said Ferdinand, who has sold clothing merchandise through Ashley's stores.
"When they went down, he spent Â£50m of his own money to get them up. Thank you, that should be.
"By the way, please say thank you for getting Rafa Benítez in! They're lucky to have him!
“They should say thank you to Ashley. You look at Sunderland, they had Â£1.2million to go up from the Championship. And they owe a thank you to Mike Ashley for getting Rafa Benitez.”
BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey defended Newcastle fans, saying it was Benitez who approached the club rather than the other way around.
Humphrey also reminded his colleague that Brighton and Huddersfield have both spent significantly more than the Magpies since the three sides won promotion to the Premier League in 2017.
Ferdinand's comments caused a huge backlash on social media, with many fans pointing out Newcastle have made a net profit in the last three transfer windows combined, despite the ever-increasing Premier League TV money.
And it wasn't just Newcastle fans who furiously reacted to Ferdinand's remarks.
First, here's how some Magpies supporters responded on Twitter:
@JamCam80s: My blood was boiling there listening to that Rio Ferdinand. Hats off to @mrjakehumphrey sticking it to him #NUFC
@JoshRudd9: Why has Rio Ferdinand just sat there and said we should be thanking Mike Ashley, and thanking him for getting us out of the Championship? Is he alright? #NUFC
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@toonphotography: I see Rio Ferdinand has had an absolute nightmare today. It's refreshing to see everyone recognising it, and actually starting to understand what's going on here. I love this club. Hate Ashley.
@Ket5bia: Absolute disgrace as BT Sport give Rio Ferdinand platform to shamelessly defend Mike Ashley despite conflict of interest
@toddsta96: Think Rio Ferdinand might be regretting a few things tonight. As well as Jake Humphrey shutting him up with a few simple facts, he’s managed to get fans of Leeds, Liverpool, Man U and even Sunderland sticking up for us tonight.
@KAH_NUFC: Once again, @mrjakehumphrey speaks sense regarding this issue whilst Ferdinand shows unparalleled levels of ignorance. JH: “I might do my house up if I’m trying to sell it yeah.” Ferdinands attitude is “well he’s selling anyway so why invest?” Ridiculous #NUFC
@decarteret_john: What is Rio Ferdinand going on about?... if you have no idea what you are talking about, then surely it is best to stay silent... strange words from him #NUFC
@passionnufc: Lost a a lot of respect for Rio Ferdinand after he labelled us a “Yo-yo club”.. We’ve been relegated twice in 25 years both of those relegations coming under Ashley’s tenure #Nufc
Fans of other clubs were also quick to call out Ferdinand:
@MattStrachan89: Spent Â£50m? Yeah but he sold Sissoko for Â£30m Didn’t Wjinudium go in the same window?
@blaggy87: As an @Everton fan, with no axe to grind in this argument, I can say that @rioferdy5 is completely wrong. Newcastle fans deserve an owner who at least cares about the club and the likes of Brighton should not be outspending them, absolute joke.
@samthehumanoid: Not even a united fan but that’s rubbed me the wrong way shouldn’t be letting him say such rubbish on your platform
@huarty: I feel for the Newcastle fans. They deserve an ambitious, passionate owner willing to work with the support who will truly invest in the club.Instead, they have a parasite who takes out far more than he’s ever put in. Shame Rio buys into the myth that Ashley is good for any club.
@pfoxy07: I'm a man Utd fan and love @rioferdy5 but you've really let yourself down badly here. When they went down they sold 70m worth of players so he was still 20m in profit. how can Brighton and Huddersfield be out spending a team with twice the fan base going to support the team?
@peo__73: Dear me rio must think all football fans are clueless you have a stadium of over 50000 every other week you sell players for over Â£70 million you have parachute tv money worth over Â£70 million but Newcastle fans should be thankful for him spending Â£50 million