Mike Ashley has ended his 14-year spell as Newcastle owner by selling the club to a Saudi-backed consortium for £305m but wanted to make it clear that he rejected greater offers for the Magpies
Mike Ashley claims he rejected a higher bid than the £305m he eventually sold Newcastle for.
The retail tycoon’s 14-year ownership of the Magpies came to an end on Thursday night after a Saudi-backed consortium purchased the club.
Ashley’s difficult reign had often seen him come in for criticism as he presided over two relegations.
His perceived lack of investment angered fans and created an unsavoury atmosphere at St James’ Park.
However Ashley insists he often put the club ahead of his own financial interests and he could’ve sold to a different buyer had he only cared about the money.
He told The Sun : “I would like it to be known that I received a higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted. It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case.
“But I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would deliver the best for Newcastle United.
“Money wasn’t my only consideration. There were times when I stepped in financially to keep Newcastle United afloat.
“We ensured the wage bills were paid when we went down in order that we could bounce straight back up.
“Nobody was happier than me when we achieved immediate promotion.”
Amanda Staveley has been looking to lead a takeover for the club for several years and help secure a deal which will see the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman own 80 per cent of the club.
Staveley will take on a 10 per cent share as well as a seat on the board.
Newcastle fans rejoiced outside St James’ Park when news of the takeover was confirmed with expectations naturally high.
The Magpies currently sit in the relegation zone and are still looking for their first win of the season.
Despite that Staveley has spoken of the club’s ambitions and wants to deliver a league title within a decade.
“Premier League football is the best in the world, and Newcastle United is the best team in the world.
“We want to see it get those trophies, obviously. At top of the Premier League, in Europe, but to get trophies means patience, investment, time.
“We want everybody to work with us to build the club towards what it needs to be.”
She also added: “We’ve got a great squad. I had a great chat with Jamaal [Lascelles] tonight as captain. We’re really excited about strengthening the squad, but we have to work within Financial Fair Play and make sure this is done over a longer term.”