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Owner Mike Ashley to stand by Newcastle - even if they are relegated

Owner Mike Ashley will stand by Newcastle even if they are relegated because he is "wedded" to the club Credit: PA

Owner Mike Ashley will stand by Newcastle even if they are relegated because he is "wedded" to the club.

That's what he told reporters at a Sports Direct warehouse in Derbyshire.

The Sports Direct magnate faces the prospect of seeing the Magpies slip out of the Barclays Premier League for the second time in his near nine-year stint as owner if they cannot turn their season around over the final eight games.

But Ashley, who this month sanctioned the appointment of former Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez in place of the sacked Steve McClaren, insists he is going nowhere should the worst happen.

Newcastle, who battled back to snatch a 1-1 derby draw with Sunderland on Sunday, find themselves in trouble at the foot of the table despite spending more than £82million during the last two transfer windows.

They currently sit in 19th place and three points adrift of safety.

"I'm wedded to Newcastle, like Sports Direct.

They have got me and I have got them, that's just the way it is.

I think we have the right man in the job.

If there's any chance of us staying up, let's hope Rafa can do the business and keep us up there."

– Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley

Benitez seeks derby boost to Newcastle's survival push

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is urging his team to ignite their survival drive with derby victory over Sunderland.

The Magpies entertain the Black Cats on Sunday knowing their very existence in the Barclays Premier League, and the £100million share of the new broadcasting deal which comes with it, are at stake with just nine games of an intensely difficult campaign remaining.

However, Benitez believes a win over their arch-rivals could give them just the impetus they need to drag themselves out of trouble.

Watch his press conference here:

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