During a recent Q&A with The Chronicle, ex-NUFC striker Mick Quinn says he’s heard that Mike Ashley ‘wants too many strings attached’ to any deal that sees him sell Newcastle United – believing this is one of the main reasons there’s been no sale as of yet.
He claims to have heard rumours that Ashley still wants his Sports Direct advertising in place at St James’ Park once he’s sold up, also suggesting that he may also want to retain a Sports Direct connection to the official club shop too.
We know his asking price has been too high for most interested parties (with the £400m price tag clearly off-putting Staveley), but Quinn seems to think there’s additional ‘ludicrous demands’ that are scaring away potential buyers.
Here’s what he’s had to say about it when speaking to The Chronicle this week:
‘I believe that it hasn’t happened because Ashley has made it too difficult for anyone to buy it.
‘Not only because his price seems to be too high, but I also think he wants too many strings attached to any deal.
‘I remember going to a Newcastle home match against Liverpool a couple of seasons ago, and I was in the corporate boxes. I looked up at the companies listed on the wall, and a lot of them seemed to be Ashley-owned from what I could see.
‘Some of the rumours I’ve heard are that he wants to keep things like that in place even if he sells. For example, he might want Sports Direct advertising to remain at St James’ Park. Or he might still want a connection with the club shop.
‘I don’t know that for certain, but it’s the sort of thing I’ve heard – and it seems to me that Ashley is just asking for ridiculous terms in any sale.
‘I know for a fact that there has been interest in Newcastle, but it seems to me that he’s scaring those interested groups off with his ludicrous demands.
‘If he really wants out, he’s got to make it easier for someone to buy the club in my opinion.’
The last line is key. If he really does want to leave and get out of Newcastle United, he needs to start acting like a man who does.
The ‘up for sale’ board may be up, but, like anything, the chances of a sale only seem likely when the seller is realistic about his demands.