Did Mike Ashley blow Newcastle’s chance at becoming Man City?

Getty Images
1 Comment

Newcastle fans have been trying to get rid of owner Mike Ashley for years. With the Magpies struggling to recruit top talent on a consistent basis and failing to keep up with other Premier League teams on a monetary level, his ownership has been criticized regularly.

Turns out, they could have been rid of him years ago, but he ruined the opportunity to sell. Those prospective buyers turned to to Manchester City and transformed the club into one of the best in Europe.

According to lawyers defending former Newcastle vice-president Tony Jimenez, whom Ashley is suing for $4 million, Ashley had now-Manchester City owners Sheikh Mansour interested in acquiring Newcastle back in 2008, just a year after Ashley purchased Newcastle himself.

However, Jimenez’s lawyer Adam Johnson says that Ashley “refused to meet a potential buyer who went on to purchase Manchester City Football Club.” Then, Johnson claims that Jimenez lined up other potential buyers, but Ashley blew that when he “visited Dubai between September 13 and 18 2008 in order to meet them. Mr Jimenez says that on the evening of September 16 2008, Mr Ashley created a disturbance in a bar in Dubai. Although Mr Jimenez helped Mr Ashley minimize the impact of the trouble, it again ruined the potential sale of Newcastle United Football Club that Mr Jimenez had lined up.”

Ashley’s lawsuit claims that a payment of $4 million to Jimenez – which was initially intended to purchase a minority stake in a French golf course – was redirected to Jimenez by illegal means. Jimenez claims Ashley agreed to the transfer after Jimenez did work looking for a potential Newcastle United buyer, and even claims he’s owed another $9 million agreed upon after Jimenez’s work to clean up the Qatar incident.