Former Newcastle defender Mike Williamson gives his opinion on Mike Ashley

Mike Williamson says Newcastle fans can't criticise owner Mike Ashley over his spending.

Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Mike Williamson has told the Daily Star that he thinks Newcastle owner Mike Ashley does have ambition.

The Magpies sit two points away from safety in the Premier League table following Wednesday's 3-0 defeat away at Everton, and fans unsurprisingly remain unhappy with the club's direction.

Manager Steve McClaren has come in for stern criticism this season, but many supporters continue to lay the blame at the door of owner Mike Ashley.

Ashley, who has been in charge at St. James' Park since his takeover in the summer of 2007, has become something of a hated figured amongst Magpies fans, who have seen their club slip down to the Championship once already under his reign back in 2009, and they have been involved in relegation battles last season as well as this term.

The major criticism aimed in Ashley's direction has been the spending, or lack of spending. Players such as Mathieu Debuchy, Jose Enrique, James Milner, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Andy Carroll have all been sold since Ashley's arrival, and with the team seemingly getting worse, questions have been asked about his ambition.

However, this season Ashley has given manager McClaren money to spend, bringing in Chancel Mbemba, Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey, Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin, Andros Townsend, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Seydou Doumbia, bringing their spending since the end of last season to a whopping £83m, according to BBC Sport - and yet still they lie in the relegation zone.

Now, defender Mike Williamson - who was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers by Newcastle in January - has told the Daily Star that Magpies fans can no longer criticise Ashley for his spending this season, but says they will judge him on the consistency of his spending and how the club develops.

"They can't knock him for the money they spent in the summer and this transfer window," said Williamson. "He came out and stated he wanted to win something and wouldn't leave until they did, he has got ambition. The fans will judge it on the consistency and how they progress from here," he added.

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