Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley says he could own the club forever

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Newcastle fans have had very little to get excited about recently. 

Rafael Benitez, the man who was credited with keeping the club ticking last season, departed from St James' Park after failing to agree on a new contract before July 1. 

Without the Spaniard in charge, many supporters believe the Toon will struggle in the upcoming campaign. 

There is some good news though, as Brazilian forward Joelinton joined from Hoffenheim earlier this week, with Newcastle shelling out a club-record fee to secure him. 

But that announcement is little more than a distraction to the big issue most supporters have with their club - owner Mike Ashley. 

Plenty of fans have made their feelings towards the British billionaire clear over the past few years and it's also no secret that he wants to sell. 

Back in October 2017, Ashley officially put the club up for sale. But since then, there's not been much interest. 

Rumours of a potential bid from Dubai-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan surfaced in May this year, but they quickly died down. 

With limited options, it seems Ashley will reluctantly continue on. The Newcastle owner also gave a rare interview on Friday night, discussing issues surrounding his club. 

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During the chat, which he gave to the Daily Mail, the 54-year-old made a suggestion that no Toon fan would want to hear.

"I have to assume I will stay running this football club. There are no offers," he said.

"Define an offer. I'm not a believer any more. Peter Kenyon convinced me last Christmas that it was going to get done. I'm never doing that again.

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"I think I could own this football club for ever. That is my new mental state." 

As well as delivering the news that many Newcastle fans were dreading, Ashley also gave a little insight into Benitez's departure, suggesting that it was 'impossible' for the club to keep him.

"If you come out and say the things he did you would think it was football club first, Rafa second, money third. I'd say it was money first, Rafa, then the club last," he said.

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"My view always was we had to keep Rafa. At one stage they were talking about a one-year extension and I said my preference would be for an eight-year contract.

"It puzzles me why any fan thinks I wouldn't want him. I'm not the thickest person on the planet. Why wouldn't I want excellence? 

"Accuse me of many things, but not that. We couldn't have done any more. It was impossible to do more." 

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