Newcastle confirm asking price of £100m
Newcastle United have confirmed the club is on the market with an asking price of £100m.
Owner Mike Ashley is desperate to sell the club after they dropped out of the Premier League. The sports store millionaire has seemingly accepted he will suffer a huge loss on his investment in the north-east club after spending a reported £234m.
The Magpies have issued an official statement setting a price as Keith Harris, chairman of investment bankers Seymour Pierce, continued his search for buyers.
The statement read: "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 email@example.com (or Keith Harris at Seymour Pierce) for further details.
"The club will not be making any further comment at the present time.''
Despite the club's stature and fan base Ashley may find it difficult to achieve a sale at that price with the club in the Championship. The task of restructuring the finances and contracts alone is a massive job with players signed on agreements to pay transfer fees in instalments and a reported annual wage bill of £75m.
Another Championship club, Sheffield Wednesday, have also been on the market for some time. The Hillsborough outfit can be completely taken over for £30m, which would also clear all the debts, and there would be no financial concerns over a wage bill in the region of £6m. It could be argued there is far less risk attached to signing a club which was one of the founder members of the Premier League in 1992 before dropping out of the top flight in 2000.
The official news of a sale also places question marks over the future of Alan Shearer who originally came in to save the club over the final eight matches of last season. It is unlikely he will take the job on a permanent basis with Ashley now looking to get out as soon as possible.
With Tony Mowbray expected to be appointed as the new boss of Celtic there has been speculation that Shearer will be his replacement at West Bromwich Albion.
Shearer returns from holiday in Portugal this week and it's unlikely he'll be happy with the news.
Unless Newcastle can find a buyer quickly it may undermine their hopes of bouncing back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
There is little prospect of Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias making hard and fast decisions while the ownership issue remains unresolved.
There are understood to be several interested parties, though the fact the club has publically invited offers suggests no firm deal is in the offing.