Owner Mike Ashley Puts Newcastle United up For Sale
Newcastle: Premier League club Newcastle United have been put up for sale with owner Mike Ashley hoping to conclude a deal by Christmas.
The Magpies have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley’s 10-year reign, BBC reported.
After winning promotion last season, Rafael Benitez’s side are ninth in the top flight after eight matches.
“Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future,” a club statement said.
Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James’ Park since taking over in 2007, with some supporters regularly protesting about the way the businessman has run the club.
Financier Amanda Staveley, 44, is a potential suitor, according to BBC Radio 5 live senior football reporter Ian Dennis, after being seen watching Newcastle’s 1-1 home draw against Liverpool earlier this month.
“It was clearly a signal of intent from her and her company,” Dennis added. “However, it is now a case of making sure the price is right for all parties.”
Newcastle’s statement added: “To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.”
Ashley also put the club up for sale in September 2008 following a series of protests by supporters angered by Kevin Keegan’s departure as manager.
He took the club off the market in December that year, but announced he wanted to sell again after relegation in May 2009 before again ending his attempt to sell the club five months later.
He said in 2016 that he “regretted” buying the club.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 16, 2017
Ashley bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. Their latest accounts – up to 30 June 2016 and before the club’s relegation to the Championship – showed a profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126m in 2015-16.
“To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments,” added the statement.
“A process will now commence of identifying new ownership for the club that will be capable of delivering the sustained investment in and dedication to the club that is necessary for it to achieve its ambitions.”