Rio Ferdinand defends Newcastle owner Mike Ashley in heated debate with Jake Humphrey

Jake Humphrey: I don’t think you have too much sympathy with Newcastle fans and actually what a lot of them tell me is that you have an opinion of the club because you sell a lot of your merchandise through Mike Ashley’s stores. Let’s just clear that up for a start.

Rio Ferdinand: I don’t even know him really well. I will get to know him. My issue is – it’s got nothing to do with my business dealings that I have with his company – I just think when they went down, he spent fifty-odd million pounds to get them back up.

JH: Yep.

RF: With his own money.

JH: Yep.

RF: Thank you, that should be.

JH: Wasn’t it Newcastle’s money? They generated it.

RF: He’s the owner. Also –

JH: That’s the club’s money!

RF: You look down the road, last season or whatever, Sunderland spent £1.2million to get in the Championship. He’s done that to get them back up, and by the way, please say thank you for getting Rafa Benitez in because by rights, they’re lucky to have him.

JH: Well I think it was Rafa Benitez that approached Newcastle for the manager’s position.

RF: Doesn’t matter. He still got him.

JH: Since they got promoted Brighton have spent £100m, Huddersfield £72million, Newcastle £6million. In that time, Premier League revenue income of £150million.

RF: Newcastle are a yo-yo club.

JH: But why do they need to be a yo-yo club? Huge fanbase, huge potential. Proper investment and they won’t be a yo-yo club.

RF: Yeah but he [Ashley] doesn’t want to do that anymore. He’s been there, done that and move on. What’s the problem? He wants to sell the club, why should he go and spend millions of pounds. Spend £30million on a striker, £30million on a midfielder – as he is trying to sell the club – both of them get injured. £60million down the drain. Would you do that?

JH: Before I sell my house, I might do it up to make it look good, yeah.

RF: Well that’s going to cost you a couple of grand – it’s not going to cost you £60million, is it?

JH: He might get that money back when he sells the club.

RF: He might.

JH: The club has a value.

RF: He might. £60million. You can’t say he might.