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Ashley apologises for ''catastrophe'' of relegation

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has apologised for the mistakes which led to the ''catastrophe'' of relegation from the Premier League.

Ashley, who along with managing director Derek Llambias, held lengthy talks with Alan Shearer at the club's training ground, issued a statement in which he acknowledges the errors which had contributed to the club's demise.

He said: ''Seeing Newcastle United relegated from the Premier League has been a catastrophe for us all.

''I fully accept that mistakes were made during this and previous seasons, and I am very sorry for that.

''I would like to say sorry to our magnificent supporters who have turned up in their thousands, home and away, up and down the country and who have given the team amazing backing throughout.

''And I would also say sorry to all of the club's hard-working staff, who have gone about their jobs all year long.

''Bringing Alan Shearer back to Newcastle United was the best decision I have made. Alan and his staff did all they could to try and keep us up in the short space of time they had.

''Talks are now ongoing between us about how we can take this club forward again.''

Ashley's statement was released as the sportswear magnate, who had arrived on Tyneside by helicopter, took to the skies once again with Shearer, assistant Iain Dowie and Llambias still at the club's Darsley Park training headquarters.

The four men embarked upon their discussions with the club facing major decisions after their 16-year stay in the top flight ended on Sunday.

They did so with Llambias having earlier indicated that Shearer, who had been brought back into St James' Park with just eight games of a desperately difficult season remaining, was the man they wanted to spearhead their bid for a swift return.

He said: ''We want him to be the manager 110%. He's very good at what he does and he's a straight-talking guy - we like that. He would be the perfect appointment.''

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