Ashley is now looking to build Newcastle back up again
Newcastle United are no longer up for sale, club owner Mike Ashley announced on Sunday.
Ashley has taken the Magpies off the market and insists he is now "committing to the club as its owner".
He put the Tyneside club up for sale in September after a backlash from fans upset at the exit of boss Kevin Keegan.
"I am happy to end the uncertainty fans may have had about the [club's] future direction," he said. "I know just how important that is to you."
After failing to find a buyer in the past three months despite what the club claim to be "considerable interest", the billionaire sportswear magnate has decided to push ahead with his own plans.
"For me 2009 will be the year in which we drive the club forward together," he said in a statement to fans, published in the match programme for Sunday's clash with Liverpool.
"Even when I haven't been at games I have remained a keen supporter, kicking and heading every ball and cheering the team on TV and being first to congratulate Joe Kinnear whenever there's a good result.
"When I took the decision to put the club up for sale in September I made a point of saying two things were very important.
"Firstly, any potential buyer would have to show they had the best interests of Newcastle United at heart and had both the commitment and finance to be worthy custodians of such a fine football club before I would even consider doing a deal.
NEWCASTLE 'FOR SALE' TIMELINE
: Fans revolt as manager Kevin Keegan steps down
: Emotional Ashley reacts by putting club up for sale
: Joe Kinnear brought in as interim manager until October
: Two "very serious contenders" show interest in club
: Kinnear confirmed as manager until end of the season
: Ashley announces he will now not sell Newcastle
"And secondly, I gave you my word that as long as I remain owner, this club would continue to be run responsibly at all levels. I hope you will accept that I have stood by that pledge."
Supporters were divided in their initial response to the news - but former Newcastle player and coach Peter Beardsley has urged fans to forgive and forget.
"He came here with the right intentions and now with the transfer window about to open, hopefully it is good news for us," he said.
"He never wanted to leave this club. He always wanted to be here, he wants to be back among the fans and hopefully he will get the chance to do that now.
"I hope the fans react in the right way. We are a big club and we need a big owner, and he is certainly that.
"When you look at all the foreign owners - and there are some good ones, don't get me wrong - we have an English owner and that's a great thing.
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