Mike Ashley has revealed that he actually received a HIGHER offer for Newcastle United than the one he accepted, but stuck with the Saudis as he felt they would be the perfect new owners at St James’ Park.
The 57-year-old has also discussed his ‘great respect’ for Newcastle fans, ‘despite what some people may think’, stating that he felt obliged to ‘fight’ for this takeover after 18 months of frustration.
He claims he would ‘love nothing more’ than to see the club win trophies under the new regime, accepting that his time on Tyneside saw us fail to reach our potential on the field.
That said, Ashley insists he is ‘proud’ to have left the club in a healthy financial position with no debts, feeling ‘sure’ the Saudi-backed consortium will deliver success.
Here’s what he’s had to say when speaking to The Sun:
“Owning a football club gets into your blood and l would love nothing more than to see Newcastle winning trophies.
“I accept that during my time at Newcastle we have not achieved the club’s full potential on the field.
“But I do believe that away from the pitch we got many things right.
“I am proud to leave the club on a solid financial footing with no debts, which is obviously a good foundation for the club going forward.”
“I’m pleased that a consortium backed by PIF is the new owner of Newcastle United. I am sure this will deliver the success that fans deserve.
“I’ve always said that I would only sell to a new owner if they can invest the necessary funds to enable Newcastle United to compete at the very highest level.
“I believe this change of ownership is true to that principle.
“I would like it to be known that I received a higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted.
“It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case.
“But I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would deliver the best for Newcastle United.
“Money wasn’t my only consideration. There were times when I stepped in financially to keep Newcastle United afloat.
“We ensured the wage bills were paid when we went down in order that we could bounce straight back up.
“Nobody was happier than me when we achieved immediate promotion.”
“I’ve known for some time now that many Newcastle fans were frustrated by the situation… I therefore felt that I owed it to the fans to fight.
“Despite what some people may think, I have always had nothing but the greatest respect for the Newcastle United fans”
After 14 years of neglect, misery and complete and utter mismanagement, Mike Ashley won’t be getting any heroes farewell from Newcastle United fans.
He may have sold to heavyweight owners capable of transforming our club for many years to come, but where was this ‘respect’, ‘fight’ and drive to win trophies during the past decade?
Goodbye Mike – and good riddance.