Vote: Should we feel sorry for Mike Ashley?
Newcastle owner puts club up for sale at fans’ request
Following a weekend of fervent protest at St James’ Park, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has finally given in to fans, and has entered negotiations to sell the club. In an emotive 1,644 word statement, he admits his love for the game and insists he will never abandon the club:
I know what it means to love football and to love a club. I know how important it is to other people because football is so important to me.
My life has been tied up with sport. It was the passion that I felt for sport that helped me to be successful with my business. That success allowed me to mix my passion and my business.
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 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.
Ashley also goes to great length to explain how he has countered Newcastle’s precarious financial situation by “pouring up to £20m a year back into the club” and by treating it as a going concern. He also insists that Dennis Wise and his team have “done a first class job scouting for talent to secure the future of the club”.
So, should we feel sorry for a man who has been forced out of a club he claims to care about, and one he has invested a great deal of time and money in? Or should we thank our lucky stars that the man who forced out Kevin Keegan has finally thrown in his hand?
Read Ashley’s full statement here, then let us know with a vote and comment below.