Dan Burke

🎥 Rio Ferdinand gets roasted online for his comments about Newcastle

The BT Sport pundit caused has some controversial views about the club's owner

Newcastle United supporters have reacted angrily after Rio Ferdinand issued a defence of Mike Ashley in the build-up to Saturday evening’s game against Chelsea.

Ashley has been a deeply unpopular figure on Tyneside since taking control of the club over a decade ago.

According to reports, the businessman – who also owns retail outlets Sports Direct and House of Fraser – is currently trying to sell the club and Magpies boss Rafael Benítez recently expressed his frustration regarding the lack of transfer funds available to him this month.

When discussing the issue in his role as a BT Sport pundit, former Manchester United defender Ferdinand – who has defended Ashley in the past – made some comments which riled the St James’ Park faithful.

“I understand Rafa’s frustrations because as a manager you want the ability to go out and spend money, but they’re not in that position,” said Ferdinand.

“At the same time I understand Mike Ashley. Why is he going to spend more and more money – millions and millions of pounds – when he’s actually looking to sell the club? He’s got them to a point now where they’re back in the Premier League and they’re consolidating to a certain extent.

“He’s not going to go spend his own money. You wouldn’t go spend your own money now knowing you were trying to sell something unless you knew you were going to get that back.

“It’s not easy to sell a football club. He’s got a price and he’s going to wait to get it. He’s spent money at that football club, he’s just not going to spend it at this time.

“All these fans, they do dream, and they dream big and I understand that.

“What are Newcastle’s aims? They can’t be aiming at being a Man Utd or a Man City. They’ve got to aim to be a Bournemouth. They’ve only just started spending.

“I’m not saying everything they’re doing is correct. What I’m saying is, I think Mike Ashley, you can’t hammer him and say that he should be spending when he wants to sell the club. You wouldn’t spend on your house when you want to sell it.”

Many people were critical of the former England international’s comments on Twitter.