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Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 11:21 UK

Nigerians prepare Newcastle offer

Mike Ashley
Ashley has pumped 250m of his fortune into Newcastle

The Nigerian businessmen interested in taking over at Newcastle say they are finalising their bid to buy the club.

The consortium is reported to have a 350m takeover fund to buy the Magpies from owner Mike Ashley, but they may need another 100m to secure the deal.

"We're at the stage where we are doing the security checks on the individuals who have the money," said London-based businessman Chris Nathaniel.

He also said they would be keen to welcome back former boss Kevin Keegan.

"Kevin's a legend on Tyneside and I think anybody looking to buy that football club would not be very smart if they didn't have Kevin involved in some capacity, that's if Kevin wants to come back," added Nathaniel.

"If I was advising anyone that was buying the club I would certainly suggest Kevin would be the right man for the job."

Keegan left his second spell as manager on Tyneside on 4 September, only eight months after returning to St James' Park.

His relationship with Ashley deteriorated rapidly and his exit caused fury among Magpies' fans, who demanded the owner sell the club.

Toon takeover serious - Nathaniel

Ashley has since put Newcastle up for sale, saying he is unable to watch the team due to fears over his family's safety.

Nathaniel, one of whose parents is Nigerian, runs football and entertainment consultancy NVA Management and he is the frontman for the bid.

The four entrepreneurs involved have requested anonymity until the deal goes through.

"They're used to whatever they go for they get, and they don't want to be seen as failing in their country if they don't manage to secure this deal," said Nathaniel.

Newcastle have appointed investment bank Seymour Pierce to handle the sale.

see also
Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham
24 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Venables rejects Newcastle offer
26 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Hughton pleads for board decision
24 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Mike Ashley statement
14 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Ashley puts Newcastle up for sale
14 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Ashley would welcome investment
10 Jul 08 |  Newcastle
Keegan resigns as Newcastle boss
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle

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