Fans write powerful open letter to Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Newcastle United fan groups have written an open letter to Mike Ashley – urging him to back Rafa Benitez.

Benitez wants to strengthen his squad in this month's transfer window.

Mike Ashley.

Mike Ashley.

However, Newcastle's manager said he was "worried" last month before stopping himself answering any more questions about the club's incoming transfer business.

And fans fear that owner Ashley – who is looking to sell the club – will not invest in the squad.

True Faith fanzine, The Mag fanzine, The Magpie Group, Newcastle Fan TV, #IfRafaGoesWeGo, London Magpie Group and Newcastle Legends have joined together to write an open letter to Ashley.

They call on Ashley to "release the funds needed to improve the squad".

A banner at St James's Park.

A banner at St James's Park.

Newcastle, beaten 2-0 at St James's Park by Manchester United last night, are 15th in the Premier League and two points above the relegation zone.

Here, we publish the letter in full:

Dear Mike Ashley,

We are writing to urge you to do what is right for Newcastle United this month and we hope, for a change, you are willing to listen to us and act accordingly.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

This is a critical month for the football club, both in terms of your stated desire to sell and the need to strengthen the squad, as repeatedly requested by the manager Rafa Benitez.

We are hoping you see the sense in striving to do both, but if you cannot find a suitable buyer, then it is imperative that you still release the funds needed to improve the squad.

To fail to do so, would seem both reckless and foolish given the damage you know relegation will do. It would also make it far harder for you to find a buyer, willing to match your asking price, if there is a real risk of relegation.

As things stand, Newcastle are just two points above the relegation zone and the manager has pleaded for new signings in order to ensure the club avoids a third relegation in the 12 years you will have been on Tyneside.

Our net spend, according The Times, in the last three transfer windows is the lowest in the Premier League. This cannot be right given there have been three chunks of television money paid in that time totalling more than £150million in income.

Given the sale of Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham in the summer, there must be money available to spend on players unless it is being taken out of the club by yourself to repay some of the interest free loans you have provided since 2007?

The ongoing takeover cannot be used an excuse not to spend money in the January transfer window.

If you refuse to spend money this month, the risk of relegation not only increases, it will also mean the manager will not sign the new contract you have offered to him. You have repeatedly said that you want Benitez to stay, so do the things needed to make sure that happens. In short, back him and give him what he needs in this window.

We firmly believe that keeping Benitez is the best chance this football club has of improving and growing over the next few years. He was given complete control of the football side the business when he signed his three-year contract in 2016, so please listen to him and please allow him to sign the players he has requested to improve the team. It is in your own interest to do so.

We appreciate no manager can get everything they want, we understand there are financial constraints, but he has given you a list of players, in various price brackets and deserves to be allowed to sign some of them at least.

As you will know, a protest in order to show our concern about the way you have run the club was called off in the best interests of the team and manager before Christmas.

It was decided that, given the confirmation from yourself that you were in advanced takeover talks with a least one interested party on December 3, that it would be better to call off the protest while you got on with the task of selling the club.

We respect the need for privacy in these negotiations and we can only offer our support in your attempts to sell up, but we are also well aware of the fact you have tried to sell before and have failed. This is the fourth time in 11 years we have supposedly been on the verge of being sold.

We hope it happens, but if it does not, you have to protect your own long-term interests and we can only ask you to do what is right for the supporters too. The fans want Benitez to stay and we want to stay in the Premier League. You have the power to make that happen.

Finding a buyer for the club will be far harder in the Championship, it will be more difficult if Benitez is not the manager, so we can only hope you see the logic in what we have said here.

I know we have had a difficult relationship in the past, but at this point, we want to look forward, not backwards. Please do what is right this month.

Best wishes

Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST)

True Faith fanzine

The Mag fanzine

The Magpie Group

Newcastle Fan TV

#IfRafaGoesWeGo

London Magpie Group

Newcastle Legends