Mike Ashley issues personal statement over 'V-sign' claims at Newcastle

Mike Ashley has issued a statement denying he made a gesture to protesting Newcastle United fans.

Ashley met manager Rafa Benitez and his players at a Ponteland restaurant last night.

The club's owner was met by a protest from members of The Magpie Group when he left the eaterie.

Ashley appeared to raise his fingers when he got into a waiting car, though a club spokesperson said he "strongly rejected" claims that he had sworn at supporters.

The club has now issued a statement from Ashley claiming reporting of the incident was "inaccurate and irresponsible".

"I did not make a 'V-sign' to anyone," said Ashley. "To suggest otherwise is both inaccurate and irresponsible.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

"The matter is in the hands of our legal team, and they will be contacting relevant newspaper editors in due course.

"It is hugely disappointing, given the reason why we set up the meeting, that certain elements of the media are trying to undermine the club by creating a story out of nothing."​

Mike Ashley in a car outside the restaurant.

Mike Ashley in a car outside the restaurant.