Mike Ashley takes Newcastle United off the market for a second time

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Friday, October 30, 2009

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Mike Ashley, the owner of English football club Newcastle United F.C., has taken the club off the market for a second time, after failing to concluded several negotiations, including a cash offer of £80 million, according to the club.

A club statement said of the move:

"Mike Ashley is totally committed to the future success of Newcastle United and will be focused on gaining promotion back to the Premier League. Mike will put a further £20m into the club this week."

This is the second time Ashley has taken the club off the market after putting it up for sale. This season, Newcastle are competing in the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football, after relegation from the top flight Premier League at the end of last season. Ashley had bought the Premier League club in May 2007 for £134.4m, but after a difficult period of ownership, which saw the return and departure of manager Kevin Keegan after a few months, and after fan protests, Ashley eventually put the club up for sale for the first time in September 2008. In a statement at the time he said:

I am not stupid and have listened to the fans. I have really loved taking my kids to the games, being next to them and all the fans. But I am now a dad who can't 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. I am putting the club up for sale. 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.

After failing to find a suitable buyer, Ashley took the club off the market in December 2008, stating he is "committing to the club as its owner". After a poor season, culminating in relegation from the Premier League to the Football Championship for the first time in 16 years, Ashley put the club up for sale a second time after relegation in May 2009. Ashley stated of the situation "It's been catastrophic for everybody. I've lost my money and made terrible decisions".

The announcement came on the same day as it announced Chris Hughton as the club's permanent manager, and that the club would be putting the naming rights of the club stadium St James' Park up for offers next season.

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