NEWCASTLE have confirmed in a statement that the club are up for sale, with businesswoman Amanda Staveley in talks.
Intense press speculation has led the Magpies to reveal an announcement on their website, much to the delight of the Geordie faithful.
The Magpies revealed on their website: “As a result of increasing press speculation regarding the future of Newcastle United, the owner of the club, St. James Holdings Limited, wishes to clarify its intentions.
“As one of the Premier League’s oldest and best supported football clubs – and for the benefit of its many fans and supporters in the UK and across the world – Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.
“To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of “Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.
“To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments.
“A process will now commence of identifying new ownership for the club that will be capable of delivering the sustained investment in and dedication to the club that is necessary for it to achieve its ambitions.”
According to reports, Ashley wants to sell the club before Christmas, putting an end to a ten-year reign in charge of Newcastle.
Sky Sports journalist Jim White tweeted: “Big news out of @NUFC this evening – Mike Ashley puts club up for sale and wants deal done by Christmas.”
Magpies fans took to social media to express their delight at the news, with one person declaring: “BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.”
While another simply stated: “Pass me the vodka.”
With another commenting: “All I want for a Christmas is Amanda Staveley.”
The 44-year-old cheered on Newcastle earlier this month at St James’ Park in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
She is believed to be keen on taking over the Premier League side – currently sitting ninth in the table.
Andrew Henderson – Ashley’s lawyer for his company St James’ Holdings – told Sky Sports: “There has obviously been a lot of press speculation about Mike’s intentions towards the club. I think that there is a view that over the years there has been a considerable investment, perhaps a feeling that all that can be done has been done.
“So it is probably just a recognition that it might be time for a change.
“Our intentions at the moment are to see if the club can be brought forward into new ownership by potentially Christmas.
“That would allow for a period for serious interested parties to put themselves forward, for a diligence process to carry on, and then hopefully by Christmas for a sale to conclude with the sort of flexibility around terms we have discussed.
“If that weren’t possible then there is no desire to sell the club for any price to anyone. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with owning the football club so we would then look at that at the relevant time.
“That’s the objective but nobody has a crystal ball so nobody can say for sure what happens and when.”
It’s not the first time Ashley has put the historic club up for sale since becoming owner in 2007.
The 53-year-old has been marred by protests from fans, not only because he changed the name of the ground to the Sports Direct Arena in 2011, which was reverted back to St James’ Park nearly a year later.
He put them up for sale in September 2008 after Kevin Keegan resigned as manager, only to take them off the market in December.
And after they were relegated to the Championship in May of 2009 he again announced his intention to sell, only taking the club back off the market five months later.