Friday, 12 June 2009

Who will bring the Goals to Newcastle?

I'm off to meet my bank manager next week, to see if he'll lend me the £100 million I need to buy the Newcastle United football club.

NUFC owner Mike Ashley has put the club up for sale, after its recent relegation out of the Premier League and down to the Coca-Cola Championship.

The unfortunate relegation came despite Newcastle United hauling themselves clear of the relegation zone earlier in the season, and despite the late arrival of former star Alan Shearer as manager.

English "billionaire" Mike Ashley (actually just a £700 millionaire), made his money in sports retailing, and bought Newcastle United in 2007 for around £135 million. He has invested heavily since then on players and resources (with little return), and is now asking £100m for the Magpies.

Sales of season tickets have dried up at the club, as the Toon Army wait to see who will own and manage their beloved club next season.

That won't impress Ashley, who is still paying out around £200,000 a day for his expensive and under-performing players, including Alan Smith, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, and Joey Barton.

Alan Shearer is keen to continue as manager, to help return Newcastle United to the Premier League. In April, the former club captain took a break from his tv role (as a presenter on Match of the Day) to become NUFC's interim manager.

However Shearer's return to Tyneside will depend on who owns the club. Four parties are understood to be seriously interested, including an American consortium, a group of Middle East investors, a consortium led by former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd, and a Singapore-based group.

It's understood if Ashley doesn't manage to sell the club in time, he will ask either assistant manager Chris Hughton or former West Ham boss Alan Curbishley to lead the club next season.

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