Ashley mulling seriously over Newcastle future
Mike Ashley's closest allies admit the multi-millionaire faces a big question over his future as Newcastle United owner.
One told the News of the World: "Mike is determined not to be deflected from his aims for this club.
"He didn't buy the club on a whim and he won't want to sell up on a whim either.
"But he clearly has a big decision to make now. Equally, he will feel very frustrated at the way things have developed.
"He truly wants what's best for Newcastle United and their fans. He has put a proper business plan into place and he believes it is the best way forward for the club.
"But it seems the fans would much rather have a Thaksin Shinawatra figure come in and spend £200-300m on players in the hope of buying some instant success rather than a proper, shrewd businessman who can build a new club with a real prospect of sustained success.
"That's the route Leeds United followed and look what's happened to them. They kept splashing the cash on big name signings on big wages and ended up massively in debt.
"To save the club they had to have a fire sale - all the big stars went and where are they now? In the old Third Division.
"Is that really what Newcastle fans want? If they do, why don't they do something about it?
They can pick the team, they can choose the players they buy and sell.
"They can have it all and they can do it all. I bet you it doesn't happen. It's just so much easier to stand on the sidelines and moan and complain and point the finger.
"It was the same a while back at Manchester United when the Glazers took over. The fans were revolting in just the same way. Funny how it's all gone quiet now United have won the Premier League and Champions League double! That's how fickle fans are.
"It's been a bad couple of weeks for the club and for Mike Ashley. But everyone is hoping a few wins will help steady the ship and change the mood."