‘I had a good relationship with him, he’s a great guy’: Ex-Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic leaps to the defence of hated owner Mike Ashley
- Ex-Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has defended owner Mike Ashley
- Sports Direct boss is once again the target of fan protests ahead of new season
- But Mitrovic, now at Fulham, said he had a ‘good relationship’ with Ashley
- Serbian striker also said Ashley was a shrewd operator in the transfer market
- CLICK HERE to read Martin Samuel’s exclusive interview with Mike Ashley
Aleksandar Mitrovic has sprung to the defence of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, insisting that the controversial Sports Direct supremo is ‘a great guy’.
The former Newcastle striker, who has just signed a long-term contract with Fulham, said he got on well with Ashley and commends him for being shrewd in the transfer market.
The comments are unlikely to wash with fans of Mitrovic’s former club amid plans for widespread protests and a season ticket boycott ahead of the new season.
Former Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has sprung to the defence of the Tyneside club’s hated owner Mike Ashley, calling him a ‘great guy’
Sports Direct chief Ashley has been the target of fan anger at Newcastle for several seasons
Fans were furious when popular manager Rafael Benitez was allowed to leave the club and move to the Chinese Super League.
In an interview with Sportsmail last weekend, Ashley claimed he had offered Benitez an eight-year but that it was ‘impossible’ to keep him.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Mitrovic said: ‘Ashley is a good guy. I understand why people at Newcastle don’t like him but I had a good relationship with him. He was good to me.
‘I didn’t see him a lot, but he’s a great guy.
‘I think he will invest, he just bought Joelinton for £40million. He is just a little more careful than the other owners.
‘He has done some good deals for Newcastle.’
Serbian striker Mitrovic said he enjoyed a ‘good relationship’ with Ashley during his time there
Mitrovic is preparing for the season with Fulham after signing a new long-term contract
Ashley sanctioned the £13m purchase of Serbian striker Mitrovic from Anderlecht back in July 2015 and he went on to score 17 goals in 72 outings for the St James’ Park club.
In 2018, Mitrovic joined Fulham on loan, helping them win promotion back to the Premier League, and then signed a permanent deal for an initial fee of £22m.
He then committed to the London club this month despite their relegation back to the Championship.
The 24-year-old added: ‘I had a lot [of offers], but it was easy for me.
‘I’m really happy here, my family are happy here. I’m not the kind of guy who is in it for money and trophies; I play football because of the passion and I’ve found my passion in Fulham with the fans.
Newcastle’s season begins against the backdrop of more fan protests against Ashley
‘I just enjoy it every time I can play in front of them.
‘Every morning I go to the training ground I am happy, there are some things you can’t buy with money.
‘After the season, there were moments when I was considering what is best for me. I feel at home here. You never leave your parents to go and live with some rich people.’
Fulham open their new season in the Championship with a visit to Barnsley on Saturday.