The announcement that Mike Ashley had decided to sell up at St James’ Park was met with universal acclaim from the supporters, who have witnessed nothing but trouble since the rotund owner picked up the reigns at Newcastle United. However, it doesn’t appear as though a quick sale is going to happen, much to the disdain of the Toon Army, with the economic climate not exactly ripe for a transaction at the moment.
The Guardian report that the recent credit crunch means that prospective buyers are likely to play a game of ‘wait and see’, rather than buy the club and see its market value drop very quickly. The recent global meltdown of the financial markets couldn’t have happened at a worse time as far as Newcastle supporters are concerned, who were hoping that Ashley and the other members of the London Mafia would be out of town quicker than you can say ‘Kevin Keegan’.
Ashley – whose company Sports Direct is now worth £168m compared to £1.7bn in February because of the stockmarket crash – has placed a price of £300m on the club, a figure few are willing to meet in the current climate. “Mike did it [took over the club] for the right reasons and it hasn’t worked out,” said Keith Harris. “It is a major iconic brand and we are attracting interest, but this is a very easy climate for people to find an excuse. Newcastle has been transformed as a football club, they are a big club and I can see them going somewhere, but it requires time and careful attention.” When asked if Ashley would stay on as owner because of a lack of acceptable bids, Harris replied: “I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
Newcastle fans, you must be worried to hear the above news, with Ashley unlikely to continue investing in the club while he’s looking for a prospective buyer? The same article also contains a quote from a Magpies source, stating that the departure of Tony Jimenez does not mean that Kevin Keegan is any likelier to return as manager.
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