Newcastle United fans' group issues powerful message to owner Mike Ashley
Newcastle United fan group Toon For Change has called on Mike Ashley to "prove the sceptics" wrong and end his 13-year reign as owner.
The latest takeover saga emerged over the weekend with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth leading a consortium - alongside the Reuben brother and Amanda Staveley - in a potential £340million deal.
Indeed, the Gazette understands that talks have been for four months but with talks now made public, fans have questioned Ashley's genuine willingness to sell.
A Toon For Change statement read: "While we welcome interest from potential buyers for Newcastle United, we remain sceptical about Mike Ashley’s willingness to sell the club.
"One of the reasons for this scepticism is a clear correlation between takeover stories appearing during transfer windows and importantly ahead of 31 January, which is the season ticket renewal deadline for fans on long-term ticket plans.
"This is the third January in a row that has seen takeover rumours receive international media attention. In 2018 and 2019, these takeover stories dissolved across February, when the season ticket deadline had passed. Perhaps this was just a coincidence.
"Last summer saw an extended takeover process, where potential buyers released a statement saying “we have agreed terms” [with Ashley] ultimately fall through. This same summer thousands of fans made the difficult decision to cancel their season tickets in response to Mike Ashley’s ownership of our club."
Toon For Change spoke at length about the club's declining attendances at the beginning for the season. And with the season tickets deadline set for the end of month, the group has questioned the timing of the takeover reports.
They added: "With the 31 January season ticket deadline for those on long term deals approaching yet again, what incentive is there for fans to renew their tickets - apart from the possibility of a takeover taking place ahead of the new season?
"Our message to Mike Ashley: Prove the sceptics like us who believe that you are unwilling to sell our football wrong. Sell Newcastle United to a party that has the ambition to make us the top six club we were before you took control - let us have something to dream about once again!"