| 10.9°C Dublin

Ashley denies rumours of Newcastle United sell-off

Close

The announcement that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is not looking to sell the club may not go down well with his critics. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The announcement that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is not looking to sell the club may not go down well with his critics. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Getty Images

The announcement that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is not looking to sell the club may not go down well with his critics. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has insisted he has no plans to sell the club until the end of next season at the earliest.

The sportswear magnate moved yesterday to dismiss speculation that he is ready to sell up in order to buy Rangers, where he already has a 9pc stake.

Newcastle said in a statement: "The truth is Mike Ashley remains committed to Newcastle United.

"For the avoidance of doubt, this means that for the remainder of this season and at least until the end of next season, Mike Ashley will not, under any circumstances, sell Newcastle United at any price. The club cannot be stronger in stating its position on this matter."

Rumours have mounted in recent weeks that Ashley was ready to take a controlling stake at Rangers and would sell Newcastle in order to do so, with UEFA rules preventing the ownership of two clubs playing in its competitions by one man.

Europe

Neither is currently involved in European competition, but both have hopes of returning to that level in the near future.

Newcastle have been formally offered for sale on two occasions during Ashley's seven-year-plus tenure to date, but on neither occasion has a buyer been able to come up with the necessary finance to complete a deal.

The billionaire paid a total of £134.4m for the club in 2007, to which he has since made interest-free loans of £129m.

Ashley, who has presided over a controversial restructuring of the business in recent years which has effectively made it self-sufficient, has been open to offers for much of the last six years while not actively looking to sell.

However, the prevailing economic climate did little to encourage prospective buyers and there are no active proposals on the table.

The announcement that the current owner is going nowhere may not go down well with his critics.

Ashley has funded a sizeable summer recruitment drive, although much of it from the proceeds of the sales of Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy, but anger remains at a perceived lack of investment in the squad, and at his decision to strike a sponsorship deal with pay-day lender Wonga. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent