Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has officially confirmed his desire to sell Newcastle United, revealing that he intends to conclude a sale before Christmas.
Mike Ashley has been at the St James’ Park helm for the past decade since handing over £134m to purchase all of the club’s shares.
In an interview earlier this year, however, Ashley suggested that new backers would be required if Newcastle were to challenge in the higher reaches of the Premier League.
A club statement read: “As one of the Premier League’s oldest and best supported football clubs – and for the benefit of its many fans and supporters in the UK and across the world – Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.
“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.
“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.
Ashley’s lawyer Andrew Henderson went on to confirm to Sky Sports News that a sale will ideally be completed in the next 70 days.
“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.”
Earlier this month Amanda Staveley, whose Dubai-based private equity firm, PCP Capital Partners, handles vast amounts of Middle Eastern oil wealth, watched Newcastle’s home draw with Liverpool.
Apparently interested in buying a Premier League club, Staveley also talked to the manager Rafael Benítez, the managing director Lee Charnley, Barnes and Keith Bishop, who is Ashley’s PR adviser. Staveley is not, however, thought to have signed an NDA.