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Newcastle’s legions are running out of hope and so is Rafa Benítez | Sachin Nakrani

Chants aimed at Mike Ashley and swaths of empty seats at Stamford Bridge showed the depth of fans’ dissatisfaction

It was on 17 minutes that the Newcastle United supporters first made their feelings clear. “You fat cockney bastard, get out of our club,” came the chant from one corner of The Shed and it did not require Sherlock Holmes to figure out to whom their ire was directed. Mike Ashley was not in attendance but he has remained a notable figure in proceedings, on and off the pitch.

First there was the chant, which could be heard again on three occasions during the second half, and then the makeup of those responsible for it. Newcastle fans regularly travel in good numbers but here large chunks of blue and white seats could be seen in a part of the stand that one would have expected before kick?off to be dominated by black and white.

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