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May 19, 2013

Ashley offers £1m for Newcastle win

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has vowed to give the club's non-playing staff a £1 million bonus if his side beat Arsenal in Sunday's crucial Premier League clash at St James' Park.

• Newcastle review

The extraordinary gesture to the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes at Newcastle has added extra spice to a game that could book Arsene Wenger's Gunners a spot in next season's Champions League.

But Newcastle could secure an improbable top-ten finish if they beat Arsenal, in what would be an unlikely end to what has been a difficult season for Alan Pardew's side.

And the intervention of their colourful owner should give them plenty to play for as they look to end the campaign on a high.

Ashley's gesture comes after manager Pardew suggested he 'didn't care' whether his team won their final game of the season after securing their Premier League survival last weekend

However, the Newcastle boss has insisted his comments were exploited by the media.

"Reporters took my little joke suggesting we didn't care about this game out of context," states Pardew. "I can assure everyone that we are determined to be at our best against Arsenal, as we owe our supporters a strong display after our last two performances at St James' Park fell a long way short of the standards we have set."

A 10th place finish for Newcastle could be worth as much as £5 million in additional prize money to the club compared to the cash on offer for ending the campaign just one place above the relegation positions.

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