Newcastle Chairman Freddy Shepherd has finally agreed to sell his 29.8% stake in Newcastle United PLC to Mike Ashley for Â£37.6M.
This is good news because it immediately gives Ashley over 70% ownership of the club, and we cannot think of anything now that can stop Ashley finally getting over 90% of the club so he can delist it from the Stock Exchange â€“ which is his eventual goal.
Rich Freddy Shepherd
Ashley needs to get just 75% ownership to take full control of the club and since the Newcastle Board has recommended his offer of 100p per share that seems a done deal. Formal offers to remaining share-holders are expected to be sent out before the end of the week.
Newcastle fans can now breathe a sigh of relief that Shepherd did in fact bow out fairly gracefully. However, while most fans thought this would be the end of Shepherdâ€™s 10 years in charge at Newcastle – he will stay on as Chairman â€“ a deal worked out between Ashley and himself. He will continue to get his Newcastle salary (Â£500,000/year) but will now have to work with a team of executives Ashley will pick to help run Newcastle United.
Soon to be Newcastle Owner – Mike Ashley
While this may anger some Newcastle fans – when you look at it from the clubâ€™s perspective – itâ€™s not a bad move by Ashley. He keeps someone in control and therefore allows continuity of the club at this vital time. How long Shepherd will remain as Chairman is an open question â€“ but we feel at some point, at Ashleyâ€™s choosing, he will eventually be replaced.
A statement issued by Shepherd read:
“The offer from SJHL (St James Holdings Limited) is at a level which fully reflects both the performance of Newcastle and its prospects and ambitions for the future.
“The board believes that SJHL and Mike Ashley will be excellent custodians of Newcastle United’s heritage and will provide the best possible opportunity for the club to flourish in the future, to the benefit of the company and its fans.”
Mike Ashley met with Sam Allardyce for the first time yesterday â€“ and as we reported yesterday â€“ also met with incoming Joey Barton. We thought that was good news because it suggested Ashley was now involved at Newcastle and so important for Joey to meet him.
The takeover by Ashley can only increase the drawing power of Newcastle as it looks like Big Sam will not be short of money for players or the other interesting staff changes Sam wants to make at Newcastle.
So very good news to start the day – now we need to bring in the players Big Sam is after quickly – and then Sam needs to select which world class players he wants s to attract to Newcastle.
This sounds like a dream – but we’ve all been waiting long enough for some miracle like this to happen. 😀
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