Date: 4th February 2017 at 10:10am
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Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has given his take on the current state of play at Newcastle United, speaking to talkSPORT (though with our quotes sourced from the Chronicle). 

Much has been made about the reported power struggle between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez on Tyneside, with the Spaniard’s long-term future cast into doubt of late. The Toon’s eerily quiet January transfer market is understood to have irked the 56-year-old something fierce and a deal to bring Andros Townsend back to St. James’ Park looked to have fallen through.

While considering his rather uneasy relationship with the club’s fans, it would be easy to instantly blame Ashley, the man who passed the ownership reigns onto the Sports Direct mogul has moved to back him on the transfer front. With Townsend having only left the club six months ago – to prove a relative flop with Crystal Palace – the Eagles are understood to have wanted more than they paid for him over the summer.

“Nobody really knows what is going on between them,” Shepherd said.

“Every manager wants another player, and Benitez wants another player like any manager.

“That Townsend deal though was ridiculous, it was one-ended and I wouldn’t have done it either.

“I don’t know for certain [what the details were], but I wouldn’t have done the deal from what I’ve heard.

“There was no option to buy, they had to buy him.

“I would have backed Mike Ashley on that one and said, ‘no’.

“What Mr Ashley is doing is saving his money for the summer and waiting until then.

“That team should get up and, like any manager, Benitez is greedy – in a good way – for more money and more players.”