“Round your money up and take over the club then.”
Rio Ferdinand has defended Mike Ashley’s time as owner of Newcastle United, telling fans of the Magpies to “put the money up” and take over the club if they’re not happy.
Ashley has been the owner of the club since 2007 and has overseen two relegations and promotions back to the Premier League during his tenure.
Ferdinand was speaking after the Magpies slipped to 17th in the Premier League table and two points adrift of the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand.
However, the former Manchester United defender instead called on supporters of the club to “put the money up” if they want to see a change in ownership.
“It’s his club and he’s doing what he wants to do and what he thinks is right,” Ferdinand told his YouTube channel Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE.
“Whether you like it or not, he’s the one that’s put the money up and he’s doing what he thinks is right for the club.
“Whether the Geordies like it or not… a lot of them hate him and don’t like him but round your money up and take over the club then.”
Ferdinand has previously defended Ashley’s reign in charge of Newcastle when on BT punditry duty in 2019.
The West Ham United academy graduate’s clothing line is sold exclusively by Ashley’s Sports Direct.
“I don’t even know him really well,” Ferdinand told BT Sport back in January 2019.
“It’s got nothing to do with business dealings I’ve got with him or his company.
“When they went down, he spent £50m of his own money to get them back up.
“‘Thank you’ that [response] should be. He’s done that to get them back up and, by the way, please say thank you for getting Rafa Benitez in.
“Because really, by rights, they’re lucky to have him in.”
Nevertheless, in his latest comments, Ferdinand did agree that the club’s recruitment process is poor and they have also failed in developing local talent.
“That’s my biggest point with Newcastle, like, they’ve got that area locked off, all of the northeast is basically Newcastle’s,” Ferdinand added.
“Because Middlesbrough aren’t in the Premier League, Darlington etc are not in the Premier League.
“So they have first dibs on all of the talent in the northeast.
“Why have they not nurtured more players into that first team? I don’t get it.
“Whether it is investment, or the quality of that the structure of that process at the club isn’t right.
“If I was a Geordie, if I was a Newcastle fan, that’s where I would be shouting and pointing my finger.
“Not enough has been done with the talent that must be kicking around in Newcastle. It’s impossible to think there aren’t more [young local players].”