Waugh, a Newcastle reporter on the Chronicle, was taking part in a Q&A (12.48pm) and delivered the bad news on Friday afternoon.
He started off by saying there was nothing sinister about Ashley’s re-appearance at matches recently.
He said that it was purely thought that having him engaged would benefit the club.
“If Newcastle are in serious trouble by January, then I think United will spend a decent amount in the transfer market – just as they did during the mid-season windows in 2013 and 2016 when they were in perilous positions,” Waugh said.
“My view – and this is very much a personal deduction – is that Ashley is merely happy to survive and, although he would like Benitez to stay in order to help maintain the current valuation of the club, he is unlikely to sanction a significant January spend unless Newcastle’s top-flight status really does appear in serious danger.”
While this is just an opinion, it isn’t what Newcastle fans wanted to hear. However, it’s completely in the Ashley model. He knows that Premier League status is important for his business – and let’s not mince words here, that’s exactly what Newcastle is to him. The way things are going at the moment though, this might well mean that he has to invest in new players in January. Newcastle are still to win a match this season and they’re currently second from bottom with just two points from eight games. However, they have had a tough start to the season, with games against Tottenham, Chelsea, Man City and Man United – and they were unlucky to lose to both Tottenham and United. That doesn’t change the position in the league though and it seems that Newcastle fans won’t be able to win either way. It’s either no new players and a tough season, or a relegation battle with some new recruits. It’s not even easy to pick which is the best option from that.