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As his side close in on a top four finish, the Magpies' boss hailed the efforts of the man who bankrolls the club despite his unpopularity among the majority of the Toon Army

Alan Pardew has heaped praise on Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley as the club continue their surprise challenge for European football.

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Ashley was public enemy number one on Tyneside when he removed Chris Hughton as manager to bring in Pardew whilst also selling striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool.

However, this season has gone a long way to changing this with Newcastle challenging for a top-four finish and Pardew believes the club's owner desrves some credit.

"Mike's put something like £273 million into the club and he's not taken anything back," Pardew told The Sunday Times.

"Since I've been here I have not really shouted his corner. Politically for me it's a minefield.

"I want to keep the fans in a good place but I would say to them, before they get emotional about it, that Mike has invested something like 25 percent of his personal wealth in this football club.

"Ask me for 25 percent of my money and you've got no chance. I don't care how good your idea is."

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