Jamaal Lascelles signed a new six-year deal with Newcastle on Thursday but rather than celebrate, some fans have instead turned on their captain.
A section of supporters have reacted negatively to comments made by the skipper in the media conference following his new contract.
Most of this bad reaction comes from the defender’s response to questions about owner Mike Ashley.
When asked about the player’s recent meal with Ashley in Ponteland, Lascelles told the Chronicle: “It’s the first time I’ve met him, and I think he’s a nice guy.”
It was a fairly innocuous comment, but that hasn’t stopped certain Newcastle fans jumping down his throat.
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Fans turn on Lascelles
In defence of Lascelles
A lot of Newcastle fans were naturally sceptical of the reasons behind the deal at such a torrid time for the club.
And many felt there theories had been confirmed due to the positive comment about Ashley in the aftermath.
But what exactly was Lascelles meant to say about his current employer? He’s unlikely to criticise his own boss.
Fans may disapprove of Ashley’s running of the club, but Lascelles has hardly praised him either.
In fact, shortly after his ‘nice guy’ comment, Lascelles stated: “Nice guys don’t have to be good chairmen, but we didn’t talk any business.”
A cryptic response as opposed to a glowing recommendation of the owner.
It shows how much unrest there is with the fans that so much of the positive aspects of the interview were ignored.
When asked if he’d leave the club if Newcastle were relegated, he said: “No. I’d be here. I’m part of this team.
“If we were to get relegated, I would have been part of that team and I would want to be part of the team that gets promoted.”
He also addressed fears the new deal was merely to insert a clause in his contract in response to reported interest from Chelsea and Spurs:
“There is actually no clause where I can escape. I didn’t want there to be.”
These are fantastic statements of intent from the defender and show his commitment to the club.
The captain’s respect and love for the team seems genuine. It’s these positive words fans should be focusing on.