Former Newcastle United owner Sir John Hall has revealed the details of previous conversations he had with current chief Mike Ashley.
Since taking up the reigns with the Magpies, Ashley has become a reviled figure on Tyneside, with his cost-cutting tendencies going down poorly with the loyal Newcastle fan base. After a poor summer transfer window and a torrid start to the 2018/19 season, tensions are now at an all-time high.
Sir John, speaking at a West End Foodbank event, claimed that Ashley was initially aiming to take Newcastle into a whole new direction when he took over 11 years ago.
“He had the intentions of taking the club forward. That’s what he told me, anyway,” Sir John said, as per the Chronicle.
"He told me he wanted to use the club to help grow his business in East Asia, which I thought would benefit everyone because it would mean Newcastle United would gain a wider fanbase, and grow too.
“But things went wrong – he received some back advice which led him to make poor decisions – and he’s never been able to wrestle that back. I’m sad it hasn’t happened how he thought it might."
There have been plenty of rumours circulating that suggest Ashley is willing to sell Newcastle, but as of yet no deal has materialised. However, Sir John insisted that Ashley is happy to sell the club for the right price.
"I think he is serious in his intention to sell, but there aren't many people with the sort of money to buy it off him. There certainly isn't in the North East, anyway.
“When it comes to Newcastle, you will need to spend £300m or £400m to buy the club, and then another £500m over five years to really make the club competitive if you want to change Newcastle’s fortunes.”