Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley says he is putting the club up for sale after his management strategy came under fire from fans. It comes just days after manager Kevin Keegan left the club complaining he had no control over the transfer process.
Ashley, who released a statement this morning (September 5), says he wants to sell the club, which he bought in May last year, as he can no longer take his kids to games.
He says: “I am not a dad who can take his kids to a football game on a Saturday because I am advised that we would be assaulted. Therefore, I am no longer prepared to subsidise Newcastle United.”
He adds that fans are demanding too much money to bring in big name players. He says: “I hope that the fans get what they want and that the next owner is someone who can lavish the amount of money on the club that the fans want.”
He denies the statement is an attack on Keegan and says that his departure, on Thursday last week, is over a dispute with the club’s Board.
Ashley bought the club for £134m and then poured a further £110m in to the business to reduce its debt. He says that the money was swallowed up by fees from transfer deals and that cash from commercial deals, including sponsorships, had been paid upfront and already been spent.
He claims he would have invested £20m in the club every year as part of a long term plan to create a sustainable business model, while investing in young talent rather than established footballers, but adds that he has listened to fans and they want him to leave.
“You don’t need to demonstrate against me again because I have got the message. Any further action will only have an adverse effect on the team.”