Mike Ashley scraps free ticket scheme for Newcastle United coaches and backroom staff

Billionaire owner has angered the club's coaching staff

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has withdrawn a free ticket scheme for the club's coaches and backroom staff, angering his employees.

Morale among Newcastle staff, which includes No 2 John Carver, former England midfielder Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman, is reported to be at rock bottom.

Up to four tickets would be given to senior members of staff in a private box at St James' Park but Ashley, worth about £3.5bn, has revoked the allowance on the eve of the Premier League season, according to the Daily Mail.

Kit men and administrative staff have not been spared from the cost-cutting, with their two-ticket allowance scrapped. It is not yet known whether the policy affects manager Alan Pardew.

Newcastle United have so far made no comment after being contacted by The Independent.

The club begin their Premier League campaign at home to defending champions Manchester City on Sunday.

After numerous fan protests last season, Ashley has bankrolled a £40m spending spree this summer.

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