Mike Ashley To Ed Woodward: 'Football's Most Unpopular Man Meets Football's Second Most Unpopular Man'
Mike Ashley hilariously poked fun at his status as the 'big bad wolf' of football when he met the equally polarising Ed Woodward at St James' Park.
The Newcastle owner, 55, has become a divisive figure at the Magpies and has been confronted by angry fans for his management of the club.
And Manchester United executive vice-chairman Woodward, 47, has also become a targeted figure for Red Devils fans over the club's transfer activity in recent seasons.
When Newcastle clashed with United earlier this month, Ashley had a face-to-face exchange with Woodward in the boardroom of St James' Park.
According to The Athletic, the Sports Direct chief executive was 'grinning' as he had his hand outstretched and delivered an "opening line [that] was probably an accurate reflection of the state of the two clubs."
Ashley told Woodward: "The most unpopular man in football meets the second most unpopular man in football."
Woodward, who saw the amusing side of Ashley's comment, was introduced to one of the Newcastle owner's associates.
But he quickly learned that he was a United supporter, who asked him why the club continued to make "all these noodle deals" over player signings.
The Athletic's Daniel Taylor said Woodward's explanation for the 'noodle deals' was that it would be difficult to make actual signings without them.
He continued: "Which sounded fair enough -- and a line, almost certainly, he has had to trot out many times in his encounters with supporters."
Matthew Longstaff scored in the second half to seal a sensational 1-0 victory over United and pile on the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United are only two points above the relegation zone after their opening eight league matches.
And Newcastle are one point above the drop zone and once again face the prospect of a Premier League relegation battle.
Steve Bruce's men will resume their campaign on Saturday with a trip to Chelsea, while United host Liverpool on Sunday at Old Trafford.
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