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Page last updated at 08:20 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 09:20 UK

Newcastle given 100m price tag

Mike Ashley
Ashley has stated he wants a deal to sell Newcastle to progress quickly

Newcastle United have confirmed that the Championship club is up for sale with an asking price of £100m.

Mike Ashley revealed last week that he was trying to sell the club and former chairman Freddy Shepherd is among several parties said to be interested.

Newcastle have appointed Keith Harris, chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, to broker a deal.

And Harris told Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek there were "two or three" rival parties vying to buy the club.

"I'm confident there will be offers to consider in quite short order," said Harris, who expects a deal to be completed by the end of June.

"It's a decent guess that there are two or three interested parties."

There is real and decent interest [in buying Newcastle], and this is not necessarily from far-flung parts of the globe

Keith Harris

And Monday's statement on the Newcastle website said: "The board of Newcastle United can today confirm that the club is for sale at the price of £100m.

"Interested parties should contact Newcastle United at admin@nufc.co.uk (or Keith Harris at Seymour Pierce) for further details.

"The club will not be making any further comment at the present time."

Ashley, who bought the Magpies in 2007, first put the club up for sale in September 2008, having invested £250m.

Ashley has presided over a disastrous period in the club's history, culminating in relegation from the Premier League on the final day of the 2008/09 season, and he has become deeply unpopular with fans.

He briefly took the club off the market in December after struggling to sell but Harris claims the club is now much more attractive to prospective buyers - at least some of whom he suggested were based in the United Kingdom.

"There is real and decent interest and this is not necessarily from far-flung parts of the globe," he stated.

"Newcastle had an awful season and got relegated so that has an implication for the value of an asset of a decrease to make it more attractive."

Newspaper reports on Sunday suggested that Shepherd was looking to repurchase the club but Harris stated that he would only find out the identity of the bidders next week.

Shepherd has refused to confirm his rumoured interest, while Harris is understood to have travelled to the Middle East last week to meet with potential buyers in Dubai and Oman.

There has also been much speculation about the future of manager Alan Shearer, with suggestions that he was not Ashley's first choice for the role.

Shearer is expected to return from a short holiday on Monday but with Ashley looking to sell it is uncertain whether the situation will be resolved.

However, Harris stated that Shearer could be a valuable asset to any prospective new owner.

"Shearer is obviously a very charismatic figure in the area and Newcastle need some local interest," confirmed Harris. "He is a good commercial addition, certainly in terms of generating interest among the fans.

"Whether he is the right man to lead the club back into the Premier League is something other people will express a view on, especially if there is going to be a change of ownership."

In May, Ashley apologised to fans for his part in the mistakes that ultimately led to relegation.

606: DEBATE
AbsolutelyGolden

The decline began with the departure of popular boss Kevin Keegan in September, amid rumours of disputes over the club's transfer policy.

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

Ashley then appointed Joe Kinnear as manager but he soon had to stand down from his position because of health problems leading to assistant Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood taking charge of team affairs.

As results continued to worsen, Newcastle turned to Magpies legend Shearer to turn things around but they won only one of his eight games and were relegated.

However, Harris believes that any buyer with a long-term vision for the club could be richly rewarded.

"It is a huge club," he said. "In attendance terms, last year it exceeded Liverpool with an average attendance over 48,000.

"If you walk around the infrastructure of the ground, the training ground, the academy, what you realise is for somebody willing to take a view over two or three years this is a club that belongs in the top seven of the Premier League. It's very attractive."



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see also
Ashley wants quick Newcastle sale
31 May 09 |  Newcastle
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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