Former midfielder reveals why Mike Ashley will not sell Newcastle United
Former Newcastle United midfielder Rob Lee believes that Mike Ashley won't sell Newcastle United - simply because he doesn't want to.
Lee, speaking during an interview with talkSPORT, discussed Ashley's reign at St James's Park and the possibility of a takeover of the club.
And the former Newcastle ace isn't holding out much hope for new ownership on Tyneside in the near future - insisting that Ashley has no intention of selling the club.
Indeed, he believes that the Sports Direct tycoon is keen to 'upset the Geordies' as he consistently back-tracks on promises.
“I met Mike Ashley once with Alan Shearer many, many years ago,"he explained.
"He was OK… he just seems to take one step forward and two massive giant steps back.
“He seems to want to upset the Geordies.
“You think he’s doing alright, then he comes out with that statement at the end of the season a few years ago: 'We are going to invest money, we are going do this and that, every penny we generate we’ll give back to the manager’, but he never does it.
“He never does what he says.
“You said a little while ago that he will be there [at Newcastle] until the end of the season, but he will be there longer than that.
“He won’t sell. I don’t think he wants to sell."
Lee also expressed concern over the future of manager Rafa Benitez, who Ashley has failed to back in the transfer market throughout his tenure.
He feels that could leave to Benitez exiting when his contract expires in the summer - in what would be a disastrous blow for the Magpies.
“He doesn’t put much money into the club and if he loses Rafa we’re in serious trouble," added Lee.
"I genuinely believe that.
“The fans are fantastic. Considering what they’ve been through on and off the pitch over the last few years, they’re still behind the manager and the team.
“The fans will always support their club, but if he [Ashley] loses Rafa Benitez I think it will be a different ball game, I really do.
"Rafa has had to put so much pressure on Ashley to say 'I want a player'. Michael Owen was our record signing in 2005, that's too long.
"Watford, Bournemouth - they've all beaten that by some way. When won't Newcastle pay more than £20 million?"