Alan Shearer has revealed that he would not blame Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez for walking out of the club.
The former striker admitted that nobody could point fingers at the Spaniard should he decide to leave Tyneside.
And the 47-year-old has called on owner Mike Ashley to back Benitez in the transfer market as Newcastle look to build on an impressive first season back in the Premier League.
Despite having little to spend last summer, Benitez guided the Magpies to a comfortable mid-table finish.
Such heroics naturally brought speculation, with West Ham heavily interested in the ex-Real Madrid manager this summer.
And Shearer believes that no Newcastle fans would blame Benitez if he walked away from St James's Park after receiving limited backing.
Speaking to YouTube channel 'The Magpie Channel', Shearer said: “No one can blame him if he turned around to Newcastle fans and said ‘I can’t put up with this anymore’. We’ll probably say, ‘You know what, we don’t blame him’. He needs backing. He needs assurances.
“Hopefully he’ll get that because he has done an incredible job this year with what I believe is very limited resources.”
Shearer is keen to see Ashley back Benitez this summer after branding his promises over budgets last season as 'rubbish'.
But he doesn't hold out much hope for the Sports Direct supremo handing over a large transfer kitty - with Newcastle still yet to break their transfer record since the 2005 capture of Michael Owen.
Shearer added: “Why would Mike suddenly say ‘I’ll give you so much money?’ He said it last season - ‘you can have every single penny the club generates, you can have to spend.
"But that was a load of rubbish and didn’t happen.
“I think Rafa has made him four or five million in the transfer market net in the time he’s been here which has been incredible.
“Michael Owen is still our highest transfer, which when you look around at Brighton, Bournemouth, Huddersfield and all these other football clubs which have been in the Championship, and come back up - we get 52,000 here every single week, one of the best supported teams around, then yes, he will have the same issues next season if he decides to stay here.
“Rafa has done a magnificent job in very very difficult circumstances.”