The ex-striker, who spent a spell on loan at St. James’ Park in 2004, acknowledged that the controversial businessman was doing a good job of lining his own pockets, but claimed that from a fan’s perspective, Ashley’s ownership is a disaster.
“There are not many people who can say that. It’s not what the fans want to hear but as a businessman, is he doing a good job? Tick.
“As an owner for the football club and the way he’s treating the fans? It’s a negative.
“I think the club is doomed under him and the quicker [someone] can come up with the 300 million to take it away from Mike Ashley [the better].”
These are pretty strong words from Bridges, but it’s hard to argue with him on this one. The fact of the matter is that the longer Ashley stays at the helm on Tyneside, the greater the stagnation that he will leave in his wake. At the moment, Newcastle are stuck in a cyclical struggle to avoid the drop, and those issues have largely been facilitated by a lack of spending that has ultimately left the squad lacking in serious quality. You could argue that Ashley has learnt his lesson and spent greater amounts in the past 12 months, but the truth is that his newfound philanthropy is no more than what should be expected of him, or, more likely, that it has come as a reactionary necessity designed to avoid the loss of funds that relegation would lead to. Either way, Ashley is not absolved from criticism, and the sooner he is out of the boardroom, the better.