IT started with promises and hope but ended with fans revolt.
Even Mike Ashley didn’t try to claim his magic at St. James’s Park he will be fondly remembered as.
After 14 years of trouble and struggle, it’s no real wonder that Ashley finally has her back on Quayside and Scottswood Road.
But even in her farewell address to a Toon army that had voiced her dissatisfaction long ago, Ashley was determined to stick to her guns.
Yes, it didn’t happen as he expected. Perhaps the immeasurable wealth of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields could change everything.
Yet Ashley still maintained that he kept the club ahead of his own financial interests – and even in the 11th and final hour of his drawn-out reign.
Ashley said: “I would like to know that I have received a higher offer for the club which I accepted.
“It was from another reputed bidder who made a credible case.
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“But I felt the bid we accepted from the current new owners would provide the best for Newcastle United.
“Money wasn’t my only consideration. There were times I stepped in financially to keep Newcastle United afloat.
“We made sure the salary bills were paid when we went down so we could bounce back straight away.
“No one was happier than me when we got instant promotions.”
Seriously, some Toon fans would agree. After all, Ashley is a hard-headed businessman, not a romantic with football in his soul.
But there was a degree of honesty as he explained: “Although I am a wealthy person, I am not in the same financial league as a consortium that has the backing of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“It is hard to compete at the highest level in football with few clubs who have almost unlimited resources.
“I have known for some time that many Newcastle fans were disappointed with the situation and were in favor of a change.
“So I felt like I owe it to the fans to fight tooth and nail over the last 18 months to make this happen.”
I felt indebted to the fans for fighting tooth and nail for doing this
This was a nod to a legal battle with the Premier League that was eventually resolved when brutal trade skirmishes between the Saudi and Qatari governments – later the owner of the league’s Middle East broadcast partner beIN Sports – ended in Doha’s victory over Riyadh. Went.
Ashley said: “I am delighted that we were able to obtain the proper approval from the Premier League to proceed with the sale.
“I want to thank the supporters, staff and players for their patience during this period. It has been a long time in coming but now it will open a positive new chapter for the club.
“Despite what some may think, I have always had nothing but the greatest respect for the fans of Newcastle United.
“My biggest regret was that we missed out on a place in the Champions League in 2011-12 when we finished fifth.
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“We were a whisker away. I hoped we could build from there but it didn’t have to be.
“Owning a football club gets in your blood and I would love nothing more than to see Newcastle win trophies.
“While the past few years have been disappointing, I wish Newcastle United and all their loyal fans the very best for the future.”
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