Ashley tries to off-load Newcastle
A takeover of Newcastle United should be finalised by the end of June, with a few interested parties currently battling for the honours.
Keith Harris, who has been overseeing the process, told Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek that he expects to receive offers shortly, estimating that two or three groups will emerge as serious bidders.
Ashley first tried to unload the club last year, after purchasing Newcastle in 2007. The owner has since invested GBP 250 million in the club, which succumbed to relegation at the end of last season.
By the end of 2008, Ashley took the club off the market due to lack of interest, as noted by BBC. However, with Newcastle losing its place in the Premier League, the price tag has become much more appealing to potential buyers.
Harris further noted that interest has been received from the United Kingdom, and ‘not necessarily from far-flung parts of the globe.’ He went on to refer to Newcastle’s 2008-09 run as an ‘awful season’, yet noted that the decreased value would help to secure a buyer for the club.
Newcastle has also been dealing with rumours surrounding the future of manager Alan Shearer. While it appears that Shearer may not have been Ashley’s top pick for the position, Harris believes that the former footballer could be a ‘valuable asset’ to any new owner.
Harris stated that Shearer is a ‘very charismatic figure’, which could contribute to the amount of local interest that the club receives.
He also called Newcastle a ‘huge club’, with attendance figures that exceeded those of Liverpool last season.