Ashley refusal to insert ‘relegation payback’ hampering Newcastle sale

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s refusal to insert a ‘relegation payback’ clause is hampering potential deals for club

  • Mike Ashley does not want a payback clause inserted when he sells Newcastle 
  • The Newcastle owner will only accept deals that offer £300m straight up 
  • Prospective buyers want a ‘relegation payback’ clause in case they go down
  • Dropping to the Championship would decrease the value of Newcastle greatly 

Mike Keegan For The Mail On Sunday

An unwillingness to insert a ‘relegation payback’ clause is hampering any potential deal for Newcastle.

Sportsmail revealed last month that a group of ‘seriously wealthy’ American investors can meet Mike Ashley’s £300m valuation for the up-for-sale club. 

However they are wary that, should Rafa Benitez’s men suffer relegation, the club’s value would drop through the floor. 

Mike Ashley's refusal to insert a 'relegation payback' clause is halting Newcastle United's sale

Mike Ashley’s refusal to insert a ‘relegation payback’ clause is halting Newcastle United’s sale

The unpopular Newcastle owner wants any prospective buyers to pay £300m for the club 

The unpopular Newcastle owner wants any prospective buyers to pay £300m for the club 

As a result, they want to insert a clause which would give them money back as an insurance policy in the event of the Toon dropping into the Championship. 

However sources say that there is currently no appetite from Ashley to do so and that the situation is at an impasse.

Other groups have also been looking at a deal for Newcastle, who currently lie a point above the relegation zone in 14th place.

They include a consortium set up by former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon. Again, however, an unwillingness to negotiate is proving restrictive. 

Interested parties are wary that Newcastle could be relegated despite recent improved results

Interested parties are wary that Newcastle could be relegated despite recent improved results

That would mean the value of the club decreasing and potential buyers want a payback clause

That would mean the value of the club decreasing and potential buyers want a payback clause

Retail tycoon Ashley is understood to remain wary, following the breakdown of talks with a consortium led by financier Amanda Staveley earlier this year. 

Sources close to those talks branded them ‘a waste of time’ with the Toon owner left angered by the experience.

A source said: ‘The situation with the collapse of the Staveley deal has not helped any others looking at taking the club over. 

‘Business people are not silly. They know that Newcastle’s value could dramatically reduce should they get relegated and so they are looking to insert a clause which would cover them should that be the case – but there is simply no movement on it. ‘It appears to be a simple case of “pay us £300m or there’s no deal”.’ 

Ashley wants a straight £300m, with no clauses, meaning possible deals are being hampered

Ashley wants a straight £300m, with no clauses, meaning possible deals are being hampered

Newcastle’s form has improved of late, with Ashley having launched something of a charm offensive. 

He has attended the club’s last seven matches and last month took Benitez and his squad to an Italian restaurant for a bonding session. 

The Magpies, who have won their last two Premier League fixtures, take on Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday night, knowing victory would take them three points clear of the Lancashire club. Guaranteed safety, however, remains a long way off.


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