Ashley ready to resume control

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Football News

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is ready to take up the reins in an attempt to drag the club out of trouble.

It is understood the billionaire businessman could be in the directors' box at Manchester City on Wednesday night as he watches the club he bought for £134.4million in person for the first time since August 30.

Ashley found himself the focus of a furious backlash from fans in the wake of Kevin Keegan's departure as manager, and announced his decision to sell the club a day after angry protests before, during and after the 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Hull at St James' Park on September 13.

However, after taking it off the market on December 28, Ashley has been taking a much more hands-on approach, and was on Tyneside on Monday evening as the club attempted to push through its transfer window recruitment plans.

In addition, they held talks with Shay Given's solicitor, Michael Kennedy, with Manchester City's pursuit hotting up, and sources on Tyneside have suggested the view from within is that the 32-year-old Irishman is simply not for sale.

That could change if big-spending City were to make them an offer they could not refuse, and they moved yesterday to give themselves some insurance by tying up deputy Steve Harper in a new three-year contract.

In the meantime, they hope to tie up a move for Toulouse full-back Albin Ebondo and are chasing a series of other targets in an attempt to boost their squad for a tooth and nail fight for top-flight survival.

Kinnear was unable to deliver the latest news at the pre-match press conference ahead of the City game as he attended a Football Association hearing to answer two charges against him.

However, he emerged relatively unscathed with a £500 fine and a warning as to his future conduct after admitting a charge of improper conduct handed out for calling Martin Atkinson "a Mickey Mouse referee" following his side's 2-1 defeat at Fulham on November 9.

A second charge of using abusive and insulting words towards a match official after he was sent to the stands by Mike Riley during the 2-2 draw with Stoke on December was found "not proved".

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Stoke City
Manchester City
Steve Harper
Premier League
Shay Given
Hull City
Kevin Keegan

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