Mike Ashley reveals why he can't back Rafa Benitez with more cash at Newcastle

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley

Mike Ashley has revealed why he can't pump money into Newcastle United.

The club's owner has spoken to Sky Sports ahead of the new Premier League season.

United manager Rafa Benitez this week told of his frustration at the club's efforts in the transfer market.

READ MORE: Rafa Benitez responds to questions about Newcastle's interest in Chelsea's Kenedy

Ashley told Benitez that he could have "every last penny" generated by the club through promotion and player sales in May.

However, United have signed five players for just over £30million and sold Daryl Murphy and Florian Thauvin.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Ashley – who owns a majority stake in the Sports Direct retail chain he founded – claims his fortune is tied up in shares.

“Every penny the club generates, he can have, but it won’t generate enough," said Ashley.

"It’s Newcastle United. It doesn’t have a £40million-a-year stadium naming rights deal, it doesn’t.

"So I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think ‘that’s great, Rafa’s getting £150million in the morning’. He’s not.

"With (United managing director) Lee Charnley’s help – and Lee Charnley answers to Rafa, not the other way around, so we’re crystal clear – Rafa makes all the final decisions on the players out and the players in, but he has to do it with the money the club has.

“If you say to me ‘I’m wealthy’. Well, OK. In theory I’m a whatever, a billionaire, maybe even a multi-billionaire, but in reality my wealth is in Sports Direct shares, which, as I said the other week, are like wallpaper.

"I don’t have that cash in the bank, so I don’t have that ability to right a cheque for £200million.

"I don’t have it. It’s very simple, it’s not there. I’d have to sell Sports Direct shares to fund that.

"So people outside of football looking in and the way sometimes it’s portrayed, is that those sort of wealth terms are in the bank – they’re not.

"I’ve got to make it crystal clear that I am nowhere near wealthy enough in football now to compete with the likes of Manchester City etc and not just Man City.

"Basically, it’s a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries. I cannot and I will not."