Craig Bellamy struggles to control himself as he delivers reaction to Mike Ashley's Newcastle pizza trip

Owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, Mike Ashley, arrives at the High Court on July 10, 2017 in London, England. Mr Ashley is defending himself against a lawsuit filed by former...

Former Newcastle United star Craig Bellamy struggled to hold back the laughter as he reacted to Mike Ashley's pizza trip with the squad.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Burnley at Old Trafford on December 26, 2017 in Manchester, England.

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez and unpopular Mike Ashley held face-to-face talks over pizza when the Magpies owner took the squad out for dinner this week.

The gathering at the Rialto restaurant on Wednesday night caused a stir among supporters and attracted protesting fans.

Ashley travelled to Tyneside to take Benitez, his staff and the squad out for an Italian meal amid concern over their winless start to the season.

 

It was reportedly just the fourth time in two-and-a-half years that Benitez and Ashley have met and comes after the Sports Direct supremo returned to St James' Park for the first time in 16 months for the 2-0 defeat to Leicester on Saturday.

Ashley was said to have been so worried by what he saw that he sent a message to the dressing-room afterwards saying that he wanted to arrange a meal in an effort to 'build relations and raise morale'.

Many Newcastle fans see it as a fruitless PR stunt by Ashley with the Tyneside club looking serious relegation candidates on early season form.

Craig Bellamy of Newcastle United attends the FAPL

The meeting invited ridicule from fans and pundits alike and left former Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy unable to hold back the laughter on Sky Sports' The Debate.

"Like I've said to all you Newcastle fans, I know you give me stick over it, he's a lovely guy, he's just proved it," Bellamy told The Debate while choking back tears of laughter.

"I don't know what's happening! That's the honest truth. I just don't get it.

"Maybe at the start of a season (still laughing), maybe I can see it where the owner sometimes chuck a barbecue where you go around their house and it was terrible.

Owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, Mike Ashley, arrives at the High Court on July 10, 2017 in London, England. Mr Ashley is defending himself against a lawsuit filed by former...

"I was the worst person in the world to ever be around there, it wasn't my cup of tea, I didn't know where to look, who to speak to and it was just 'Get me out of here as quick as possible'.

"That moment there (seeing Ashley meeting the squad at the restaurant), I couldn't find anything more uncomfortable in my life (than) being sat round a pizza and the owner is over there, manager is over there, staff here, that is just not me, get me out of there, so it would have the reverse effect on me."

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