1 Jun 2009

Newcastle owner apologises for "catastrophic" season

11:49 am on 1 June 2009

Ailing English football giants Newcastle United are back on the market at a vastly lower price than they fetched in 2006.

The owner, Mike Ashley, is reported to be willing to sell the relegated premiership club for only 80 million pounds ($202 million), less than two thirds of what he paid less than three years ago.

Newcastle is preparing for life in the second division Championship but negotiations are continuing over the permanent appointment of Alan Shearer as manager.

His eight-game caretaker stint failed to keep the club up in the top flight.

Ashley says he can't wait to leave and that the relegation has been catastrophic for everybody.

He told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper that he has lost money and made terrible decisions.

Ashley paid tribute to the club's supporters for turning up to games in their thousands, home and away.

He says they have given the team amazing backing throughout.