Football

Ashley looks for Toon exit

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Billionaire Mike Ashley is set to sell his interest in Newcastle just 16 months after staging a �134.4million takeover.

Ashley and his executive director (football) Dennis Wise have borne the brunt of a furious backlash from supporters in the 11 days since manager Kevin Keegan walked out in protest over the club's transfer policy.

In a lengthy statement, Ashley said: "I am not stupid and have listened to the fans. I am putting the club up for sale."

He added: "I have really loved taking my kids to the games, being next to them and all the fans. But I am now a dad who can't take his kids to a football game on a Saturday because I am advised that we would be assaulted.

"Therefore, I am no longer prepared to subsidise Newcastle United.

"I hope that the fans get what they want and that the next owner is someone who can lavish the amount of money on the club that the fans want."

Thousands staged demonstrations outside St James' Park before and after their embarrassing 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Hull demanding that Ashley sell up and that Wise be removed from his post.

They could now get at least one of their wishes after the sportswear magnate revealed that he is ready to listen to offers.

Ashley continued: "I knew that the club would cost me money every year after I had bought it. I have backed the club with money.

"You can see that from the fact that Newcastle has the fifth highest wage bill in the Premier League. I was always prepared to bankroll Newcastle up to the tune of �20million per year, but no more."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Newcastle United
Hull City
Kevin Keegan

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