After another woeful Toon performance, Matt Ritchie was as honest as ever.

The Newcastle wing-back started the game on the bench, watching on as Danny Rose struggled.

Ritchie came on in the 71st minute, but was unable to save the Magpies.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

After the game, Ritchie faced the press and answered various questions about the team’s form, his teammates and, most interestingly, the owner.

There were loud anti-Mike Ashley chants from the away end, but Ritchie admitted he isn’t fazed by the angst from fans.

“The owner is the owner – we’ve spent money in the last two windows,” he told the Chronicle.

“As a team, this (if Newcastle stay up) would be our fourth season in the Premier League now and we’ve had good finishes in the division.”

The 30-year-old’s comments have irked a few fans, but when you look deeper at what he’s said, is it really surprising?

(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

While we didn’t actually spend money on permanent players in the last window, Ritchie is right. We have brought in a fair few players over the past two transfer windows.

And we have had good finishes in the Premier League since returning.


Was Ritchie wrong?

But why wouldn’t Ritchie leap to the defence of Ashley? At the end of the day, you’re not going to go to work one day and just start slagging off the man who owns the company, are you?

And if more money was invested from a new owner, would Ritchie even still be here? While he can talk about decent Premier League finishes, it’s about ambition.

In nearly 13 years, we’ve seen absolutely none. Just a club doing the bare minimum to scrape by.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Surviving in the top flight is considered as a success, rather than trying to build on survival and compete at an even higher level.

This is the highest level Ritchie has ever played at. He spent a season with Bournemouth in the top flight and also played twice for Portsmouth, but this is his longest spell in the Premier League.

And with all due respect to his previous clubs, they never had ambitions above survival. It was Bournemouth’s first Premier League season, while Portsmouth were going down amid financial oblivion.

Ritchie’s support of Ashley is no surprise. While he’s been a loyal servant since arriving, he’s a player who is fit for purpose.

If we had an owner who intended to take Newcastle to the top, Ritchie probably wouldn’t last much longer.

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