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Ant and Dec demand Mike Ashley leaves Newcastle United as Rafa Benitez departs

Following the announcement of Rafa Benitez's departure calls for Mike Ashley to sell the club will again intensify. Credit: PA

TV duo Ant and Dec have demanded Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley leaves the club after it was announced Rafa Benitez would be leaving when his contract runs out at the end of June.

In a tweet, the lifelong Newcastle United supporters echoed what most fans will be thinking about the manager's departure, saying those at the top "should be ashamed".

The tweet was signed off with an all-too familiar phrase: "Mike Ashley - get out of OUR club".

The Sports Direct boss has owned the club since 2007, but his ownership has repeatedly been criticised by fans over a perceived lack of spending.

It was a rare public intervention for the Geordies, who used their joint Twitter account to post about the Spaniard's "disastrous" departure.

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For those unfamiliar with football, Rafa Benitez is one of the world's most renowned managers who made the surprising decision to stick with Newcastle after their relegation in 2016.

He secured Newcastle immediate automatic promotion back to the Premier League before securing their place in the top division the following year.

His decision to stay on at Newcastle in the Championship was seen as valiant by football fans and since gaining promotion he's become a Toon hero.

The 59-year-old is a Champions League winner with both Liverpool and Real Madrid so the chances of Newcastle replacing him with someone of similar stature seems unlikely.

Following the announcement of his departure calls for Ashley to sell the club will again intensify.

Banners similar to this have been appearing in St James' Park for years. Credit: PA

For years "Mike Ashley get out our club" banners have been appearing in St James' Park, due to his lack of investment in players.

However criticism slightly died down following the coup of keeping Benitez.

Benitez spent just over three years in charge at St James' Park since replacing Steve McClaren in March 2016.

Despite the Magpies finishing in a creditable 13th place last season Newcastle United announced that Benitez will leave the club upon expiry of his contract on June 30.

In a statement the club said: "We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however it has not been - and will not be - possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.

Newcastle United fans will be disappointed they're saying goodbye to Benitez.

"Rafa’s coaching staff, Paco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez and Mikel Antia, will also leave the club on 30th June.

"We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved.

"We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty.

"The process to appoint a successor will now begin."