Newcastle United IS still up for sale according to fan forum panel including managing director Lee Charnley

Newcastle United IS still up for sale - but potential buyers are being put off by the 'scrutiny' that comes from owning the Magpies.

Friday, 5th October 2018, 7:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 5:30 am
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

That was the message from the club's latest fan forum at St James's Park as managing director Lee Charnley was quizzed about Mike Ashley's bid to sell up, transfers, Rafa Benitez's contract and the roles of Keith Bishop and Justin Barnes.

Reports last January suggested Mike Ashley wants around £350million for the club, but the Newcastle owner told his players earlier this week there would be no sale in the foreseeable future.

However, when asked about Ashley's intentions at the club, the panel replied: "The owner wants a fair price and has been open to the dating of payments to achieve a sale.

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"In addition the buyer must be someone, or a group, that can take the football club forward and support it financially better than he can.

"It is important to disclose that there have been groups who have expressed an initial interest, but who have been discouraged with proceeding due to the visibility and scrutiny that comes with the football club.

"The club has a very clear and reasonable process for individuals or groups who express an interest in purchasing the club. There has not been a lot of serious interest and a sale is not close as it stands.”

The panel were also asked if the club were briefing against Rafa Benitez to the media and the manager's future, to which they replied: "The club strongly rejected this and stressed its support for the manager.

"Individuals in the football community have their own opinions and most have chosen to lay fault with the club. The club would always prefer that any conversations behind the scenes remain private

"The club is focused on Rafa Benítez and would like him to stay.

"The club has discussed this with the manager. There is a shared aim to improve training facilities but in prioritising its needs, the club feels its overall budget is currently better spent on the team."