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Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 13:25 UK

Ashley wants quick Newcastle sale

Mike Ashley
The value of Ashley's investment has plummeted with the club's relegation

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has put the club up for sale again after saying sorry to fans for the mistakes that cost them relegation.

Ashley, who bought Newcastle in 2007 for £134.4m, is reportedly willing to sell for as little as £80m.

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

"Now I want to sell as soon as I can. I am genuinely sorry for everybody for what has happened."

Newcastle's traumatic season, in which they went through four managers, began with the departure of popular boss Kevin Keegan in September, amid rumours of disputes over the club's transfer policy.

There is only one man to get us back up and that is Alan Shearer

Newcastle winger Damien Duff

Keegan's exit prompted mass protests from supporters with fans demanding Ashley - as well as controversial director Dennis Wise - quit St James' Park.

Ashley put the club up for sale and also appointed Joe Kinnear as interim manager, and the former Wimbledon manager's reign began with a foul-mouthed outburst at a news conference in October.

But with Ashley struggling to find a buyer for the club he paid nearly £135m for two years ago, he decided to take Newcastle off the market in December.

Newcastle's problems continued with Kinnear standing down from his position because of health problems leading to assistant Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood taking charge of team.

As results continued to worsen, leading to the real prospect of relegation, Newcastle turned to Magpies legend Alan Shearer to turn things around.

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But Shearer won just one of his eight games in charge and Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League.

"I never said I was an expert in football clubs," Ashley added.

"I was just a fan - although a very wealthy fan, but I'm not so wealthy now.

"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."

Shearer's future at the club remains in doubt following Ashley's decision to sell the Magpies.

However, winger Damien Duff, who has pledged to stay at the club next season, believes Shearer is the man to lead Newcastle back up to the Premier League at the first attempt.

"There is only one man to get us back up and that is Alan Shearer," the 30-year-old said.

"I'm sure it'll be him and I'm sure he'll take the job.

"There will obviously be a massive clear-out but also I'm sure the gaffer knows who cares about the club and who's going to work to get out of the Championship."

And on staying at St James' Park, Duff added: "I've done two years in the Championship before with Blackburn. Why not?"



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see also
Shearer holds talks with Magpies
26 May 09 |  Newcastle
Shearer non-committal over future
25 May 09 |  Premier League
Duff pledges future to Newcastle
25 May 09 |  Newcastle
Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle
24 May 09 |  Premier League
Newcastle's season of misery
24 May 09 |  Newcastle
What now for north-east football?
24 May 09 |  Football
Premier League photos
24 May 09 |  Premier League
Shearer confirmed as Magpies boss
01 Apr 09 |  Newcastle
Wise parts company with Newcastle
01 Apr 09 |  Newcastle
Kinnear back home after surgery
22 Feb 09 |  Newcastle
Ashley calls off Newcastle sale
28 Dec 08 |  Newcastle
Kinnear explains media outburst
16 Oct 08 |  Newcastle
Mike Ashley statement
14 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Ashley puts Newcastle up for sale
14 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Magpies fans protest over Ashley
13 Sep 08 |  Tyne
Keegan resigns as Newcastle boss
04 Sep 08 |  Newcastle


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