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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley explains why he feels like the ‘pantomime villain’ at St James’ Park

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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has hit back at criticism surrounding his controversial tenure at St James’ Park.

The Spaniard left to join Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang, where he reportedly earns a whopping £12million-a-year – double his salary at St James’ Park.

I’d say it was money first, Rafa, then the club last.

He took the totally soft option, took the money and went to China.”

The Sports Direct tycoon described himself as a ‘pantomime villain’ among Magpies fans after the sportswear company’s AGM was hit with protests.

Magpies fans held a banner which read ‘Sports Neglect – This is not blowing over’ outside Academy House, while some members of the London Magpie Group bought shares in the company so they could attend the annual meeting.

And Ashley, clearly unimpressed with the protests, told broadcasters after the meeting: “Just so we’re clear, I don’t pick the Newcastle team and I never have because that gets thrown at me as well.
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