Shay Given believes Newcastle United fans are happier with Mike Ashley now then when he was at the club

Mike Ashley at Tup Tup Palace

Given has pointed to the investment in the club from the owner.

Shay Given has been discussing his former club Newcastle United today, specifically the relationship between the fans and the club's controversial owner Mike Ashley.

Given was appearing on Sky Sports News HQ when the topic of recent protests at Charlton Athletic came on to the agenda.

The Irishman saw similar protests during his time at Newcastle, when fans had grown weary of Mike Ashley's ownership of the club.

Given, who played at Newcastle for eight years, now believes fan unrest toward Ashley has calmed - as the owner now plunges more money into the club:

"It shouldn't affect the players. Sometimes maybe it does or the players use it as an excuse. Personally, it never affected me.

"At the time he (Mike Ashley) was not investing in the team and selling probably their best players. The fans were clearly unhappy.

"In recent times Mike Ashley has backed the manager and backed the club. I think £80 million spent this year alone on new players. So the fans are a little bit happier at Newcastle..."

He makes a good point regarding Ashley's recent investment. Big names such as Andros Townsend, Jonjo Shelvey and Georginio Wijnaldum have all come to the club in recent times - yet still Newcastle United are struggling.

The players have so far failed to perform at St James' Park and Newcastle go into the derby match with Sunderland this weekend second from bottom and staring relegation in the face.

Ashley and co did not however cover themselves in any glory in the way they handled the recent Steve McClaren sacking.

If relegation does happen you can guarantee that the running of Newcastle United will once again be called into question by the passionate Toon Army.

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