March 5 – Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley (pictured) has reportedly taken the club off the market following the failure of potential buyers to meet his terms.
For Ashley, who bought the club in 2007 for £113 million, the sale should be a simple one. Anyone who can prove that they have £280 million and will commit to that sum, buy the club.
Before Christmas former Manchester United and Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon indicated that he was raising the funds to complete the acquisition but he has been unable to come through.
Previously businesswoman Amanda Staveley said she was going to buy and made three offers but none of them coming close to Ashley’s asking price.
Ashley has twice before – in 2010 and 2015 – had the club for sale before taking it off the market for lack of buyers who could match his asking price. The club was officially back on sale in 2017 but 17 months later no deal could be done.
The failure to sell is not due to Ashley’s intransigence but due to a refusal to sell below the asking price. It is understood he is not expecting to receive the full price in one lump sum transfer, but he is expecting to achieve the full £280 million price.
Ashley doesn’t need to sell the club but it is still likely that he would if a buyer could prove their financial backing and that it could meet the club valuation.
Under Ashley’s generally frugal management of the business and Rafa Benitez’s team management, the club looks now to have secured its Premier League status, and even broke its own transfer record with the signing of Paraguayan Miguel Almiron for £20 million from Atlanta in the MLS.
Newcastle fans have long wanted and waited for Ashley’s exit from the club. The wait looks set to continue.
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