Mike Ashley Makes Pledge to Newcastle Players Ahead of New Season

Beleaguered Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has promised the club's players that he'll attend more matches this season, amid a recent flurry of transfer activity.

It has been an eventful summer at St James' Park with the club in talks over a lucrative £300m takeover bid from a consortium fronted by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

That deal has fallen the wayside, with Newcastle releasing a strongly worded statement condemning the Premier League's decision to reject the takeover based on its Owners and Directors test, but signings have begun to flow through the Tyneside door.

Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis are among those to arrive in the north east, and speaking to Sky Sports News, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey revealed that Ashley had recently made a promise to the players.

"We had some steak and chips. It was good to get everyone in the same room for team bonding," Shelvey said. "The owner told us he’s going to go to more matches this year. He picked up the bill too, which was nice.”

Ashley has been actively looking to sell Newcastle for over a year now, but the latest setback is just another notch on the list of takeovers that have collapsed. In this particular instance, the Magpies insist that the Premier League are to blame, hinting in their statement that they are considering legal action.

"Newcastle United can confirm that the Premier League has rejected a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) based on its Owners and Directors test," the club said.

"This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government. 

"The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them."

The Premier League has since responded by claiming the club's belief of a takeover bid being rejected is "incorrect".

In a statement, the Premier League added: "This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information. They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board."

Source : 90min