Newcastle United for sale at £100 mln

LONDON: Newcastle United annnounced on Monday they were up for sale at an asking price of 100 million pounds.

The north-east side were relegated from the lucrative Premier League on the final day of the season and owner Mike Ashley, who was almost once before hounded out of the club by angry fans, has now decided to sell-up.

"The board of Newcastle United can today (Monday) confirm that the club is for sale at the asking price of 100 million pounds," a club statement said.

"Interested parties should contact Newcastle United (or Keith Harris at Seymour Pierce) for further details.

"The club will not be making any further comment at the present time."

Ashley, a businessman who made his fortune running a chain of sports stores, had no prior connection with Newcastle before buying the club for 135 million pounds in 2006.

He tried to find favour with the fans by attending matches at St James' Park wearing a replica shirt and drinking pints of beer among the spectators.

But he told The Sunday Times last month that he couldn't wait to leave.

"It's been catastrophic for everybody. I've lost my money and made terrible decisions," he admitted.

Ashley got through four managers this season alone and not even installing former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, a hero to supporters, for the final eight games of the season could prevent the Magpies being relegated alongside fellow north-east side Middlesbrough and Midlands-based West Bromwich Albion.

"I am genuinely sorry for everybody for what has happened," Ashley said.

"I never said I was an expert in football clubs. I was just a fan - although a very wealthy fan, but I'm not so wealthy now."

He added: "I put my money into it and I tried my best, but I accept my best was woefully short.

"Seeing Newcastle relegated has been a catastrophe for us all.

"I fully accept that mistakes were made during this and previous seasons, and I am very sorry for that.

"I would like to say sorry to our magnificent supporters who have turned up in their thousands, home and away, up and down the country and who have given the team amazing backing throughout.

"And I would also say sorry to all of the club's hard-working staff, who have gone about their jobs all year long."