Ashley seeks Newcastle sale
Magpies owner keen to escape troubled club
By Rob Parrish. Last Updated: 15/09/08 9:44am
Ashley: Keen to sell
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has confirmed he wants to sell the troubled Premier League club.
"I have listened to you (the fans). You want me out, that is what I am now trying to do but it won't happen overnight and it may not happen at all if a buyer does not come in."
Mike Ashley. Quotes of the week
Ashley only took charge of the St James' Park outfit last summer and has endured a roller-coaster spell at the helm in the North East.
His relationship with the club's supporters has reached breaking point in recent days following the resignation of hugely-popular manager Kevin Keegan.
Keegan quit his post after just three games of the new season, claiming that he was forced to walk away due to the board's involvement in the club's transfer policy.
Immediate demonstrations from the fans followed and Ashley attempted a reconciliation with Keegan, only for talks in London to break down on Friday.
Supporters again vented their anger towards Ashley and executive director (football) Dennis Wise before, during and after Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Hull City, although the duo were both conspicuous by their absence.
And now the club's owner has admitted he wants to sell his stake following the reaction of the Geordie faithful.
In a statement released to Sky Sports News, Ashley said: "I am putting the club up for sale.
"I hope 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.
"This will not be a fire-sale. Newcastle is now in a much stronger position than it was in 2007. It is planning for the future and it is sustainable.
"I have the interests of Newcastle United at heart. I have listened to you (the fans). You want me out, that is what I am now trying to do but it won't happen overnight and it may not happen at all if a buyer does not come in.
"You don't need to demonstrate against me because I have got the message. Any further action will only have an adverse effect on the team. As fans of Newcastle United you need to spend your energy getting behind not me, but the players who need your support."
Ashley has again given his backing to Wise, and claims that it would be impossible for Keegan to have had sole control over buying new players.
He added: "One person alone can't manage a football club and scout the world looking for world class players and stars of the future.
"It needs a structure and it needs people who are dedicated to that task. It needs all members of the management team to share that vision for it to work.
"Dennis and his team have done a first-class job in scouting for talent to secure the future of the club."