Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley visited the dressing room following his side’s 1-0 victory against Watford to congratulate the team, as he attempts to increase moral around St James’ Park.
Ayoze Perez’s second-half header earned Newcastle their first win of the new Premier League season, putting a halt to their abysmal run of form. Ashley has been widely criticised by fans, even following Saturday’s victory, but it appears as though he is trying to turn things around.
According to The Newcastle Chronicle, Ashley accepted an invitation to the Newcastle dressing room following the match, where he congratulated manager Rafa Benitez on guiding the team to victory, and also praised the players for their improved performance during the match.
Benitez’s current contract expires at the end of the season, but it is believed that everyone involved is keen for the Spaniard to renew his deal and stay on for the foreseeable future. However, Benitez is waiting to see whether the club will commit to investing in improving both the training facilities and the first team squad.
There has been no public comment as to whether this investment is forthcoming, but it is clear that Ashley is taking an active interest in the club for the first time in many years. He has attended the majority of Newcastle’s matches this season, whilst also taking the first-team squad out for a meal in an attempt to boost moral.
Benitez and Ashley have clashed in the past, but the Spaniard admitted earlier this season that he had no issues with the club’s owner. Ashley is believed to be keen to improve his working relationship with Benitez, in the hope of convincing him to sign a new contract with Newcastle.
Victory against Watford carried Newcastle out of the relegation zone, with the Magpies now sitting 17th in the Premier League. They will be eager to carry this wave of momentum forward into their next matches, the first of which comes in the shape of Bournemouth on Saturday.