Eddie Howe reacts to 'silly' Sir Jim Ratcliffe Newcastle United jibe after Man Utd swoop for Dan Ashworth

Eddie Howe addressed Newcastle United's sporting director situation following Manchester United's approach for Dan Ashworth.
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Eddie Howe insists it has been 'business as usual' at Newcastle United after sporting director Dan Ashworth was placed on gardening leave.

Manchester United are looking to appoint Ashworth as their own sporting director following a minority takeover from Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS Group. But with Ashworth having a lengthy notice period in his contract, Newcastle are reportedly demanding a £20million compensation package for the 52-year-old from Manchester United.

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Ratcliffe weighed in on the discussion by describing Newcastle's demands as: "A bit silly, personally. I won't get dragged into that. 

"What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting a man who is really good at his job sits in his garden for one and a half years."

In his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Arsenal, Howe was asked about Ratcliffe's comments. But The Magpies boss was determined to keep his distance from the discussion.

"I don't think I can respond to that," Howe said. "I don't think that's for me. I'm not involved in those discussions and I'll stay well away.

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"[A compensation fee] something I won't comment on, that's for others to decide."

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has broken his silence on Man Utd's interest in Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth.Sir Jim Ratcliffe has broken his silence on Man Utd's interest in Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has broken his silence on Man Utd's interest in Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth.

With Ashworth's time working at Newcastle effectively over after less than two years, Howe was asked to reflect on the former Brighton & Hove Albion man's time at St James' Park.

Despite stating that Ashworth will depart on 'good' terms, Howe refrained from commenting on the sporting director's contributions.

"I don't think I should be going there," He added. "That's something for other people to reflect on.

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"Certainly as a football club we need to reflect and make sure we move forward stronger than we were before. That has to be our aim.

"I think I said last week, ideally in that role you are in the position for a long period of time. It's a bit like being an academy manager, in charge of the academy, you're not going to see the end result of your work for many years because you're putting things in place.

"That's the same as a sporting director. It's a longer-term role, ideally."

On the impact of Ashworth stepping away from his role, Howe said: "The day-to-day running of the club, not at all.

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"It's happened away from the training ground and the players. It's been business as usual and a normal week." Newcastle are now in the process of looking for a new sporting director. While Howe will be removed from the decision-making process, he will put his opinion forward.

"That's not my decision, that's something the club will sit down and analyse everything that's happened to this point and try and find the right balance," Howe said. "I have my own opinions and I'll express those to the club. It's about making good decisions and making sure we're running effectively as best as we can.

"I don't know if it's important [my opinion] is listened to and taken on board. It'll be the club's decision to get the opinions and then decide which is the best step forward.

"Obviously I have an opinion, I have an opinion everything to do with the club but that doesn't mean it should necessarily be listened to.

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"It's not my right to make that decision but certainly the inner workings [of the club] and making sure we have good relationships with people, that certainly helps the process and I think that's probably more important than anything."