Ray Wilkins offers his strong opinion on Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley at Tup Tup Palace

Ray Wilkins defends Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Former Queens Park Rangers and Rangers midfielder Ray Wilkins said on the Call Collymore show on talkSPORT on Saturday evening (February 13) that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley should not be criticised for his effort this season.

Over the past few years, Ashley has been criticised by fans and pundits alike for lack of investment in the Newcastle squad.

The Magpies have often signed young and talented players only to sell him a few years later to make a profit.

However, this season, Ashley has allowed head coach Steve McClaren to make good signings, both in the summer of 2015 and in the January transfer window.

Newcastle recruited Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba, Ivan Toney and Florian Thauvin in the summer of 2015.

In the January transfer window, the Premier League outfit brought in Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Seydou Doumbia (loan).

Wilkins has pointed out that this season Ashley has backed his head coach to make the signings he deemed suitable.

“I have got to say, I think the criticism of Mike Ashley this year has been a little bit over the top to be honest,” said the former Chelsea midfielder on the Call Collymore show on talkSPORT on Saturday evening (February 13).

“I think Mike has supported Steve McClaren really well, I have got to say. He has spent a lot of money. He spent a lot of money in July and in August, and he spent a lot of money in the close window.”

Newcastle are third from bottom in the Premier League table at the moment with 24 points from 26 matches.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch