After weeks of rumours and discussions, businessman Mike Ashley has finally agreed to sell Newcastle United to a consortium of former Newcastle players for a reported fee of £150 million pounds.
Businessman Ashley took complete control of the club back in July 2007, paying a total fee of £134 million. His spell in ownership of The Magpies has been fairly controversial and Ashley is now an unpopular figure on Tyneside after his decisions regarding Joe Kinnear’s appointment as Director of Football and the infamous moment in 2008 when he downed a pint of beer on live TV and in sight of a pitch, breaching FA rules and then blaming the incident on the Newcastle fans.
During his tenure, Ashley made Newcastle United available to buy three times. First in September 2008 secondly in 2009 and most recently this summer. Until now his attempts to sell Newcastle have been completely unsuccessful with Ashley struggling to find a buyer capable of providing proof of funds. However, a newly formed consortium has come in with a suitable bid and Ashley has agreed to a deal therefore ending a torrid time for him as Newcastle owner.
The consortium which has been confirmed as the new Newcastle United owners is led by Magpies legend Alan Shearer and also consists of other ex Toon players Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Andrew Cole, Shaka Hislop, Michael Owen, Nicky Butt, Paul Gascoigne and Kieron Dyer. Alan Shearer (pompeyblue
) will become the club chairman with Les Ferdinand (The Madridista
) taking the role of Managing Director/Co-Chaiman.
Shearer is possibly the greatest ever player to pull on a Newcastle United shirt and is a massive icon and true legend. After having a prolific spell at Blackburn Rovers and helping them to a Premier League title he made the £15 million move to his boyhood heroes, Newcastle United, in 1996. He scored a total of 206 goals in 404 goals in all competitions for The Magpies and holds the record for scoring the most goals in Premier League history. He played out the rest of his career at Newcastle and even returned as manager in a short and unsuccessful spell which ended in relegation to the Championship. The Geordies don’t remember Shearer for his spell as manager though with them always looking back fondly of memories of Alan Shearer scoring a ton of fantastic goals and now they will be hoping for more good times at Newcastle with Shearer now taking the reins of chairman along with Les Ferdinand.
Ferdinand was also a top class player for Newcastle and formed a formidable partnership with Alan Shearer up front after signing from QPR for £6 million in 1995. He scored 50 goals in 84 appearances in all competitions before moving on to Tottenham Hotspur.
In a press conference this morning, Alan Shearer spoke about the new ownership of NUFC. “This is the start of a promising, exciting and new era for Newcastle United Football Club. Every single member of the consortium which has completed the takeover are devoted to the aim of making this club the best club in England and in the world. We believe that every one of us (members of the consortium) have the right knowledge and experience to help lead this club to glory.”
Shearer and Ferdinand will certainly be looking to make plenty of changes at Newcastle to turn them into a powerful force in England again and in the world. The first of those changes could be to sack manager Alan Pardew. Pardew led Newcastle to a fantastic 5th place finish in the 2011/12 season and deservedly won the Manager of the Year award but last season they failed to replicate their success and ended up having to fight to stay in the division with them eventually finishing in 16th place. Pardew’s future is certainly unclear and it remains to be seen if he will be in charge of Newcastle United for much longer.