Mike Ashley has officially announced he is to sell Newcastle United via his lawyers, who hope to complete the sale of the club before Christmas.
The London based business man, who owns big brands such as Sports Direct and Lillywhites, has owned Newcastle United since 2007 when he paid £134m to buy a 100 per cent stake in the club from previous owner Freddy Shepard.
Ashley’s Lawyer, Andrew Henderson who represents St James Holdings said via Sky Sports “there was a feeling that all that can be done has been done, and that it may be time for a change going forward”.
“There has obviously been a lot of press speculation about Mike’s intentions towards the club. I think that there is a view that over the years there has been a considerable investment, perhaps a feeling that all that can be done has been done.”
“So it is probably just a recognition that it might be time for a change.
“Our intentions at the moment are to see if the club can be brought forward into new ownership by potentially Christmas.
“That would allow for a period for serious interested parties to put themselves forward, for a diligence process to carry on, and then hopefully by Christmas for a sale to conclude with the sort of flexibility around terms we have discussed.
“If that weren’t possible then there is no desire to sell the club for any price to anyone. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with owning the football club so we would then look at that at the relevant time.
“That’s the objective but nobody has a crystal ball so nobody can say for sure what happens and when.”
Ashley’s relationship with current manager Rafa Benitez has come under strain due to the lack of investment this summer in the playing squad. The Spaniard has so far done a wonderful job of guiding Newcastle to 9th place in the table with nine games gone so far.
Benitez will be hoping whoever buys the club will be able to invest in the squad over the January transfer window.