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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 16, 2008

Ashley continues search to offload Newcastle

Mike Ashley will today continue his quest to find a buyer for Newcastle, after proving unsuccessful with his initial efforts to secure a sale.

Ashley has reportedly flown to Dubai to seek a taker but City sources say there is no interest from any arm of the Dubai ruling family in the club.

Furthermore, the family's investment body, Dubai International Capital (DIC), yesterday made it clear they are not "planning a bid for any football club''.

Ashley has announced he wants to sell his interest in Newcastle just 16 months after staging a £134.4million takeover.

However he has also indicated he wants a return on his investment - so that could mean it is some time before a buyer is found and the club can return to an even keel.

There are already fears that no manager will take the job left vacant by Kevin Keegan while such uncertainty exists over the future ownership.

The Magpies have only taken four points from their opening four games and could be dragged into an early relegation fight if the problems off the pitch continue to reflect the results on it - as was evident in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Hull.

It is understood that Ashley has been trying to contact Amanda Staveley, the investment adviser who runs PCP Capital Partners and has the best financial contacts in the Middle East.

Staveley helped Abu Dhabi United in their takeover of Manchester City and is also working with Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on his possible personal venture to buy Liverpool.

Staveley would not pursue potential buyers from Dubai though - and DIC said in a statement it was no longer bidding for Liverpool or another club.

The statement read: "DIC can confirm it is not planning a fresh bid for Liverpool FC or any other football club.

"Nor is DIC or any other Dubai-based party aware of any consortium or vehicle involved in a bid.''

Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, who was interested in Newcastle at one stage, is now understood to have backed away and is focusing on a possible move for Everton instead.

However, Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan believes Ashley will struggle to find a buyer.

Sullivan told BBC Five Live: "I don't think he will find a buyer - partly because he spent too much.

"Secondly people won't want to go into that environment because they know if things don't work out after six months they will get abuse.''

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