16 Sep 2008

Ashley says fans forcing him to sell the club

6:36 am on 16 September 2008

The Newcastle football club owner Mike Ashley is blaming fans for forcing him to put the club up for sale, saying he can't afford to match their ambition or cope with the threats to his safety following manager Kevin Keegan's resignation.

Ashley says he's no longer prepared to subsidise the Premier League club he bought just over a year ago saying he was putting it up for sale.

Ashley, who enjoyed watching Newcastle matches in a replica jersey and sitting with the fans, was lauded for coaxing Keegan out of retirement in January.

But relations soured when Keegan quit last week claiming his position had been undermined by his lack of influence over transfers.

Newcastle's last major trophy was 1955 FA Cup and they haven't won the league since 1927.