MIKE ASHLEY finally succeeded in selling Newcastle and told the celebrating Toon Army: “I know it didn’t work out on the pitch.”
The 18-month battle to complete his flog on the Tyne ended with a £300million deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
And the sportswear billionaire conceded that the new Toon owners do have the deep pockets required to actually transform the club’s fortunes.
Speaking to SunSport, Ashley said: “Owning a football club gets into your blood and l would love nothing more than to see Newcastle winning trophies.
“I accept that during my time at Newcastle we have not achieved the club’s full potential on the field.
“But I do believe that away from the pitch we got many things right.
"I am proud to leave the club on a solid financial footing with no debts, which is obviously a good foundation for the club going forward.”
Ashley, who reportedly spent £134m and took on debt on acquiring his stake in Newcastle in 2007, has been attempting to get out of the club for much of the past four seasons.
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His departure was cheered by fans but Ashley maintained he had no ill-will despite the flak that has come his way.
He added: “I’m pleased that a consortium backed by PIF is the new owner of Newcastle United. I am sure this will deliver the success that fans deserve.
“I’ve always said that I would only sell to a new owner if they can invest the necessary funds to enable Newcastle United to compete at the very highest level.
“I believe this change of ownership is true to that principle.”
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