Newcastle United legend Malcolm Macdonald fears the club will lose it's best players after new director of football Joe Kinnear's combative arrival.
Kinnear's short reign has already claimed its first victim in manager director Derek Llambias, who he referred to on air as 'Lambezi'.
Macdonald told the Daily Star Sunday: "I really can't believe what's happened. I think it's a friendship taken beyond extremes. But why pluck Joe Kinnear from obscurity?
"Is it because they chat in the same pub and have a pint together? Did he feel sorry for Joe? But is that how you run a multi-million pound company? Ashley doesn't do stupid things. He might be bizarre but he's not stupid.
"But you don't help your mate out by putting your own managing director's nose out of joint. Alan Pardew has given the simple line that he will continue at the club and has no doubt consulted his lawyers as to what constructive dismissal is.
"That leaves Kinnear doing all the talking. But why did he go so sloppily and heavily into that radio interview? He booted people up the arse and smacked them over the head. Ashley has seen and heard that and surely he's got to say, 'Joe, I'm not having that'.
"He hasn't. So it's all got to be playing a game. They're not idiots. There's got to be a masterplan. You don't become a billionaire and then be perceived to be acting like a buffoon. Or employ a buffoon.
"Everything Ashley does, he does for a purpose. So I can only think what's been done and been said has been designed to hack off a lot of people, enough for them to move on.
"Look inside that dressing room, for instance. There will be big names saying, 'Get me out of here'. Yohan Cabaye is the best player Newcastle have got and is insulted by Kinnear mispronouncing his name as Kebab.
"Ben Afri, too, instead of Ben Arfa. Were those gaffes done on purpose?
"Cabaye will think, 'I'm not impressed by that. Would I be better looking away from here?'
"Was it designed to get the high rollers out of St James' Park?"