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.
Sunderland’s chief executive Margaret Byrne has resigned following her role in Adam Johnson‘s criminal case.
In a statement released on the club website, they confirmed Byrne’s resignation had been accepted after an internal investigation showed that “the decision not to suspend him for a second time pending the outcome of the trial, was wrong.”
Johnson, 28, was convicted of two criminal acts following an incident with a 15-year-old girl and is currently awaiting sentence. The winger has been charged with one count of grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child.
Following his arrest for this incident last March, the former Middlesbrough and Manchester City midfielder had told the club he was to plead not guilty to the charges and said he was innocent. However, he admitted to two criminal charges in court in February and the next day had his contract terminated.
The fact that Johnson was able to play for Sunderland for almost a year (he was initially suspended for 16 days following his arrest) and earned over $4.5 million has been queried as reports claim that Byrne had read police reports where Johnson admitted kissing the girl, plus she’d seen his sexually charged WhatsApp messages. Johnson also said when giving evidence at his trial that he had “told everything” to Byrne and didn’t believe he would be sacked.
Byrne –a qualified solicitor who was meant to stand for Johnson’s defense during the trial but failed to do so — ultimately made the decisions on behalf of the club and below is the statement in full as she is no longer the CEO.
The Board of Sunderland AFC has today accepted the resignation of Margaret Byrne.
Margaret, in her role as CEO, was responsible for the running of the club. She was also accountable for the actions taken by the club in relation to Mr. Johnson. Sunderland AFC acknowledges that Margaret’s intentions have always been to act in the best interests of the club, however it has become clear through our own internal investigations that in this instance decisions have been taken by Margaret in error.
Whilst swift and decisive action was taken to terminate Mr. Johnson’s employment upon his guilty plea, decisions taken prior to this, including the decision not to suspend him for a second time pending the outcome of the trial, were wrong. In light of what has been acknowledged by Margaret as a serious error of judgment on her part, we have undertaken a full review of the club’s decision-making processes to ensure that there can be no such mistakes in the future.
Throughout this deeply regretful situation, we recognise that one devoted young fan and her family have been very badly let down, first and foremost by Mr. Johnson and his despicable actions, but also by the club they support. We are so very sorry for this.
Mr. Johnson lied to the club; he also lied to our fans and they have every right to feel aggrieved by this. Lessons have been learned and we hope that the club and its fans can move forward from this together.
The same could be said for United as Louis Van Gaal‘s side continue to leak goals and they’re now six points off the top four with just 13 games to go. Speculation linking Jose Mourinho with a summer arrival at Old Trafford continues with LVG’s job seemingly on the line.
Say it again, folks: Leicester City isn’t going away.
The Foxes went into the Etihad Stadium and battered Manchester City on Saturday, and now lead the table by five points. Leicester is ahead of fifth place Manchester United by 13 after a 3-1 win over City.
Robert Hugh scored two goals and Riyad Mahrez had one sandwiched in between as the Foxes continued their surprising run at the top of the league with a comprehensive win over Man City. Sergio Aguero pulled one back late because, well, he’s Sergio Aguero. City blew a big chance to state their title claim.
Mark Hughes has watched his Potters give up three goals for the third-straight match, and the Potters fell to 1W-1D-3L during the most recent injury absence for Geoff Cameron. Meanwhile, the Toffees got goals from three different players in the first half in moving up the table.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Hennessey were the stars here, though the first bested the latter on an early free kick to make it 1-0. Scott Dann tied it up, and Hennessey made several saves to make sure Palace picked up a point for the first time in six PL matches.
Maya Yoshida put Saints up early, and Southampton was able to hold off the Irons despite going down to 10 men thanks to Victor Wanyama‘s sliding takedown of Dimitri Payet in the 53rd minute. Southampton has pulled to within a pair of points of sixth-place West Ham.
Nothing’s easy for the Magpies, who dominated possession and shot attempts but only beat the Baggies once. The goal belonged to Aleksandar Mitrovic off another slick feed from reenergized Jonjo Shelvey, and the Magpies are one point clear of the drop zone.