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Last Updated: Monday September 15 2008 06:17 GMT

Newcastle boss decides to sell

Newcastle fans protesting against Newcastle boss Mike Ashley

The owner of Newcastle United says he's putting the club up for sale after demonstrations from fans.

Supporters staged several protests calling for Mike Ashley to go during a weekend that saw the Magpies suffer a 2-1 home defeat to Hull.

They're angry with Mr Ashley after former manager Kevin Keegan quit last week because of disagreements with him.

But now Ashley's told fans: "You don't need to demonstrate against me because I've got the message".

Kevin Keegan
Fans didn't want former manager Kevin Keegan to go
Since buying the club for a whopping 134 million over 16 months ago, the billionaire says he's pumped another 110m into the team.

But he said recent protests by fans' made him feel it wasn't safe to take his kids to watch the Magpies' matches anymore and he's not prepared to keep throwing money into the club.

He said: "I am putting the club up for sale. I hope the next owner is someone who can lavish the amount of money on the club that the fans want."

Fantasy football

Despite criticisms of the way he's run Newcastle, Ashley said he'd always had the club's best interests at heart.

"I am very conscious of the responsibility that I bear in owning Newcastle United," he said.

"Tough decisions have to be made in business and I will not shy away from doing what I consider to be in the best interests of the club. This is not fantasy football."