Whelan: Ashley to blame for Magpies

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Wigan owner Dave Whelan claims his Newcastle counterpart Mike Ashley has driven the north-east club to the brink of relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Ashley took a controlling interest in Newcastle in June 2007, and although his arrival was initially warmly greeted by the Newcastle fans - especially after he brought Kevin Keegan back to manage the club - things have turned sour since.

"When I first went there just after Mike Ashley had bought it he turned up in the boardroom in a pair of jeans, a pair of trainers and a replica shirt," Whelan said.

"Immediately he did that, the club's gone. You don't do things like that in football. He's got no class whatsoever.

"He's representing Newcastle United who were such a proud club.

"I immediately knew the supporters may want to have a pint with him on the terraces but basically he was not Newcastle through and through. The Newcastle fans know that.

"You can't get a Tottenham fan buying Newcastle and letting people thinks he supports them.

"It's not right, there's no pride left in the club. I think he's got what he deserved. You don't go into a football club as big and proud as that and lower the standards."

Ashley and Whelan have been involved in a dispute over business matters.

Whelan accused Ashley, who owns the Sports Direct retail chain, of risking 12,000 jobs by trying to push JJB Sports - the company Whelan set up in the 1970s and sold in 2007 - into administration.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Newcastle United
Wigan Athletic
Kevin Keegan

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