Ashley backing Newcastle boss Allardyce

Mike Ashley's behaviour towards underfire Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce suggests he is backing his manager - for now.

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The Independent says as he did against Sunderland, Ashley spent the 90 minutes in the away end with Newcastle's 6,000 travelling fans - who were supportive of Allardyce - and after the 3-1 defeat Ashley then made his way to the foyer at Ewood Park where he was seen shaking hands with Allardyce, smiling and was even overheard to be inviting the under-pressure manager out for a drink.

That scene in itself does not guarantee Allardyce will remain in his position and there is still a significant portion of the Tyneside audience to be won over. Newcastle were better at Blackburn than in their four previous matches and another spirited performance against Arsenal would enhance Allardyce's standing among the public.

But after Arsenal there is a home game against Birmingham City on Saturday and failure to win that match would provide a test of loyalty for Ashley.

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