Former Newcastle United star Keith Gillespie has savaged Mike Ashley for his lack of ambition in an exclusive interview with Football FanCast.
Steve Bruce’s side are battling against relegation from the Premier League and are in very real danger of slipping into the Championship.
With nine games of the season remaining, Newcastle are 17th, just two points clear of 18th-placed Fulham, who they play on the final day of the season.
Gillespie played for Newcastle between 1995 and 1998, playing for the club in the Champions League, providing two assists in the 3-2 win over Barcelona that still stands as one of the best results the club has ever achieved in the modern era.
And he believes that a lot of the current problems at the club stem from Ashley and his lack of desire to push the club up the league table.
Asked about the predicament Newcastle find themselves in, he drew a parallel with West Ham United, a club of similar size who are currently pushing to finish in the top four.
He said: “You can put that down to the owner having no ambition.
“The ambition for a club like Newcastle, that everyone can see, is to stay in the Premier League. That’s not what Newcastle fans want to hear, Newcastle fans want to be doing what somebody like West Ham is doing at the minute.
“And they’re capable, because they’ve done it before.”
Newcastle play Tottenham Hotspur next, and also face clashes with West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leicester City and Manchester City before the season is out.
And Gillespie is quite naturally worried that the club could fall through the trapdoor, claiming that their destiny may lie in the clash on the final day of the season against Fulham.
He added: “It’s really worrying times for them, they’ve got some difficult fixtures coming up, so it’s going to be a tough nine games for them and ultimately it could come down to the last game of the season when they play away at Fulham.
“So hopefully they’ll have got a few points on the board by then because they’re a club I’ve got a lot of affection for because of my time spent there. I love the place, I love the fans, but I just think they’re being short-changed at the minute by the ownership.”