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Mike Ashley arrives with Keith Bishop to attend his first Newcastle United game since November

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Ashley arrived at Stamford Bridge flanked by friend and business partner Keith Bishop, whose PR company are employed by Newcastle.

Mike Ashley is at Stamford Bridge for Newcastle’s clash with Chelsea as he took in his first Magpies match since the middle of November.

If Ashley didn’t know the team needed reinforcing the team news – United called on rookie Sean Longstaff to partner Isaac Hayden – should focus minds.

The United owner is facing mouting criticism for his approach to the January transfer window as the takeover saga that he claimed could be resolved by Christmas drags into the middle of the month with no prospect of a resolution.

With results going against United started the match in the bottom three with relegation – and another potentially huge financial hit – a very real prospect.

Peter Kenyon’s group have been deemed the best fit – according to the former Manchester United Chief Executive’s letter anyway – but there doesn’t seem to be any prospect of it being concluded in time to make an impact in the transfer window.

The fact that Rafa Benitez has been left waiting and frustrated by familiar recruitment issues suggests that little has changed from the last two windows, when the Spaniard was left frustrated.
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