What’s the story?
According to The Daily Mirror, Ashley simply doesn’t view the club as a priority on his list of business interests as he focuses on his Fraser Group high street empire.
That, along with the fact, he does not want to sack a manager he enjoys a good relationship with despite Newcastle staring a third relegation while under his ownership in the face.
Are we surprised?
Not really, no.
Sadly, Ashley has rarely seemed invested in trying to make a success of Newcastle United, doing just enough to get by.
Even in the seasons in which they’ve stayed up, there have been nervy moments. The John Carver team of 2015 only managed to secure Premier League safety on the final day of the season after Alan Pardew wasn’t replaced, while Rafa Benitez also spoke of his lack of ambition after leaving St. James’ Park in 2019.
While Bruce deserves plenty of criticism for the performances this season, it is clearly Ashley who is the problem at the club.
Obviously, that isn’t a particularly new idea to Newcastle United supporters who have endured life under his ownership for well over a decade but the manner of this particular potential relegation feels so much worse than the others. In 2016, Benitez was in tow and prepared to rebuild the club, while Chris Hughton had the likes of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and a young Andy Carroll to fight through the arduous Championship campaign.
This time around, as Luke Edwards recently pointed out, it would seem like a real struggle to return from the Championship at the first time of asking.