Former Leeds star Johnny Giles suggests worrying reason for Mike Ashley’s control of Rangers and Newcastle

Mike Ashley at Tup Tup Palace

The Leeds legend believes Ashley controls Newcastle and Rangers for financial benefit alone.

Mike Ashley currently owns Newcastle, and a 9% share of Rangers, and Johnny Giles has suggested to the Independent that he merely has a stake in both clubs due to the financial benefits.

The ex-midfielder said: “Mike Ashley is routinely hammered by everyone who loves the game and I've criticised him heavily myself but he runs a financially stable ship at Newcastle. It is, of course, an engine for shirt sales which seems to be Ashley's primary concern with football.

“The current battle for control of Rangers is probably about shirt sales as well for Ashley and that's the sad thing about all of this.”

Shirt sales are obviously one of the biggest financial draws in modern day football, and Ashley is frequently under the spotlight for his poor management of the Magpies.

Despite securing Premier League survival this season, he proved that he was willing to take money out of the playing squad at the expense of performances, and they were incredibly lucky to stay in the top flight.

It would come as no surprise to see no investment in the footballing side of the team this summer, meaning that Newcastle will once again be fighting for their lives at the bottom end of the league table.

The Rangers situation is slightly different, as Ashley is not the main shareholder, despite attempts to stake loans against the club, using Ibrox as a bargaining chip. The fan base is smaller than the Newcastle one, and the money in Scottish football is less than that in the Premier League.

Ashley has helped the club in the last few years as they recover from their liquidation, and although he is slightly to thank for that, there is a sense that he was looking at the financial benefits, rather than the footballing ones, when he decided to invest in the club.

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