Daily Archives: October 20, 2017

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley puts Premier League club up for sale

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Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United, has officially confirmed that he is in the midst of a process to sell the club.

Ashley, who is also the founder of Sports Direct, been open to offers for the Premier League club since the turn of this year, but had only instructed St James’ Park officials to issue a public statement clarifying his intentions on Monday.

While it was understood that Ashley desires to recoup the £380m for the concern he bought 10 years ago, the 53-year old also makes it clear that he would accept staggered payments and wants a clean break rather than a partnership with new investors.

In a statement by Andrew Henderson — a lawyer representing Ashley — Newcastle United are currently in talks “with new and credible parties” after his client put the Premier League club up for sale.

“Our intentions are to see if the club can be bought by new ownership, potentially by Christmas,” said Henderson. “This would allow seriously interested parties to put themselves forward.”

“It would allow a diligence period to carry on, then hopefully by Christmas a sale could be concluded.”

“Since Monday, a number of additional parties have come forward which we believe to be credible,” Henderson added. “We are continuing to engage in conversation with a number of parties with whom we were engaged in negotiations prior to Monday’s announcement.”

Amongst the frontrunners for a bid to Newcastle’s ownership rights include Amanda Staveley, whose Dubai-based private equity firm, PCP Capital Partners, handles vast amounts of Middle Eastern oil wealth, and who had recently been spotted in Newcastle’s home draw with Liverpool.

However, it also appears clear that while Ashley’s announcement had accelerated the possibility of a transition of owners, it is understood that the key issue of price has still to be discussed. Staveley is thought to have valued the club in the region of £300m — a sum significantly less than Ashley’s own valuation, which could delay the completion of a deal up to after Christmas.

Everton suffers ugly Europa League defeat by Lyon at home

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Everton’s poor start to season continued with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon in the Europa League, with the game descending into a melee in the second half following an ugly brawl sparked by the captain Ashley Williams.

Lyon — who, like Everton were without a win in Group E — took the lead inexplicably just after six minutes through Nabil Fekir’s penalty, awarded for Mason Holgate’s rash and ill-timed challenge on Fernando Marcal.

Then, a second-half flashpoint which could see Everton and Williams facing punishment came, as Williams’s shove on the Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, sparked heated confrontations between players in front of the Gwladys Street end.

The match was held for a couple of minutes as the group melee surged to the direction advertising hoardings, with a supporter holding a child in one arm spotted aiming a punch in the direction of the keeper.

Afterwards and seemingly roused by the clash, Williams headed a perfect free-kick cross delivered by Gylfi Sigurdsson to turn from villain to hero from six yards and equalized.

Sigurdsson came close again moments later with a second free kick that hit the inside of a post, but Lyon responded and extinguish any hopes of an Everton revival. As Maxwel Cornet turned back a ball across goal from the right-hand byline, a slight flick from Bertrand Traore in the middle was enough to secure all three points for the Ligue 1 club.

The defeat, which comes after a 3-game winless streak despite a huge amount of summer transfer activity amounting to well over £100m for the Toffees, further calls into question the future of coach Ronald Koeman with the club.

“We made too many mistakes,” the Dutchman said after the game. “It was thanks to Jordan Pickford that the score was only 2-1. We started well but made a really stupid fault after just five minutes.”

“I have no complaints, it was the right decision from the referee to give a penalty, but there were a lot more mistakes and bad decisions after that. That’s what we are looking at the moment: doubts, errors, and players without confidence. I know from my playing days what that does to you.”

“The final decision is by the board not myself,” Koeman then added regarding his position. “If the board thinks I am not the right man they will tell me.”

Senegal lists Sadio Mane in World Cup qualifiers squad despite injury

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Senegal have listed Sadio Mane in their national squad for two crucial World Cup qualifiers next month, despite the Liverpool forward being sidelined with a hamstring injury at the moment.

Mane, 25, was expected to be absent for six weeks having been injured in Senegal’s game against Cape Verde on 7 October — meaning that it would be expected for him to available for selection by Liverpool on 18 November.

However, Senegal’s coach, Aliou Cisse, has included the 25-year-old in his plans for CAF qualifiers against South Africa on 10 November and 14 November, while also stating that he is sure that Mane will be fit by those dates.

Still, the player himself is understood to be recovering well from his hamstring injury and his club, and additionally the final decision on whether Mane plays for Senegal will rest with the player and the national team, not Liverpool, with Senegal’s medical staff remaining in close contact with the former Southampton forward during his rehabilitation.

“In my mind there’s no doubt he will be with us for the double-header against South Africa and that he will be 100% fit,” Cisse said.

“Until now he has just been doing some individual training — running in straight lines — but from next week he is going to train harder and start working with the ball.”

Although Senegal are top of their qualifying group for the World Cup finals next summer, it remains that the nation still needs two points to secure a place in Russia.

Their first qualifying match against South Africa — which Senegal lost 2-1 last November — will be replayed during the next international break after FIFA decided that the officiating referee was guilty of match manipulation.