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Nov, 17, 2008

Whelan: Ashley is being greedy

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan has accused Newcastle United counterpart Mike Ashley of being "greedy" as he reportedly holds out for a buyer who will pay £250 million for his Tyneside club.

Ashley, who bought the club from Sir John Hall in July 2007, is seeking a sale following the backlash from supporters after the abrupt departure of manager Kevin Keegan in September.

Investment bank Seymour Pierce is struggling to sell the Magpies and Whelan claims that is because Ashley is being unrealistic over his asking price and underestimated the task of taking control at the St James's Park.

Whelan said: "If Mike Ashley will sell it for the right money, he will sell it next week."

Seymour Pierce claim they have two "very serious contenders" to buy Newcastle but as yet nothing has materialised and that is solely due to the price, according to Whelan, who said: "Is he being greedy? Yes."

He continued: "I don't think he has thought things through and I don't think he really appreciated just how passionate people are up there about their football.

"It is very difficult for someone who is not a Geordie to run that football club and I said to Mike Ashley: 'You are better off just getting your money back and stepping away."

"You can't sack Kevin Keegan and expect the fans to get behind you. He will never be able to repair the damage between himself and the fans. Do that and you are down the pan. I told him, 'You're gone'."

Wigan boss Steve Bruce led his side to a last-gasp 2-2 draw at St James's Park on Saturday and he has been linked with a return to his native north-east.

Whelan, though, poured scorn on such a possibility. "He won't come here and work with Mike Ashley," he said.

"Steve wants to work with a chairman who understands the game and does not expect too much, too soon.

"There is no chance he would go near a football club if it is not run the way he thinks it should be."

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