Former Newcastle United captain Kevin Nolan has said "you can't fault" Mike Ashley for his decisions in the wake of Rafa Benitez leaving the club at the end of his contract in June.
Benitez left St James' Park after three years in charge and guided the club back to the Premier League in 2017, saying Newcastle "did not share the same vision".
Mike Ashley bought Newcastle in 2007 and has had a fractured relationship with fans for the majority of his tenure. Numerous protests have been held over the years over Ashley's ownership, and fan groups are still encouraging a boycott of St James' Park for the coming season.
Kevin Nolan who left the club in 2011 for West Ham told Talksport, "with Mike, you can't fault him. We had a dispute with him years and years ago with the bonuses. We wanted 'x' amount, he was like 'this is what you're having, and if you don't want it don't sign it'.
“You can’t fault Mike Ashley.”
“He’s been able to finance the club and keep things running smoothly.”
“Benitez knew what he was going into and done well in working the media.”
“I feel for the fans & for Ashley.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 5, 2019
"And that's the way he is, he's been like that for the last 10 years. So I don't think he's ever changed. When he first went, he had all great intentions of putting Newcastle back on the map. Obviously, he's lost that now, and he wants to sell it. There are no two ways about it, he wants to get out.
"What he's done, he's still been able to finance the club and make sure it runs smoothly. You go up there, it's a fantastic club and what he's done in the ground is fantastic. I genuinely believe that the fans want a sale, Mike wants a sale. When that happens, everyone will be happy.
"The whole Rafa Benitez thing, I think he knew what he was going into when he went into that football club because Mike is not one that will move the goalposts, 'this is what you get, this is what you have'."
Newcastle completed the sale of Ayoze Pérez to Leicester earlier this week for his £30 million release clause. Nolan was asked if he believes fans should expect the money to be reinvested into the team, "with Mike, he will give that money, I'm sure or the majority of that back to the manager coming in anyway.
"Because of the fans, because of the city - there's not too many people turning down Newcastle. They've got a squad good enough to keep them in the Premier League."