South African group plans Newcastle buyout
A South African consortium has expressed an interest in taking over from Mike Ashley at Newcastle. The reaction to Kevin Keegan's departure from St James' Park has convinced Ashley to sell the club and he hopes to find a buyer within the next few weeks.
Newcastle have already been in contact with a group of Nigerian businessmen but a rival consortium has now emerged.
Reports suggest the British-based tycoons have put together a €440million deal, although they have yet to hold formal talks.
"We are serious about Newcastle, we believe they are an iconic institution who deserve to be run professionally," a spokesman for the South Africans said in the News of the World.
The spokesman added that Keegan was the key to the group taking control, with Alan Shearer also in their thoughts.
He said: "Kevin is integral to our plans. We want Kevin to be fully committed to the team and we hope to find a role for Alan Shearer.
"We are not personalities. We like to be in the background, we need to be in the background.
The South African consortium, who plan to keep their identities secret until they have met with Keegan and Shearer, have made their money from rescuing and rejuvenating household brands around the world.
They are confident of reviving Newcastle's fortunes, with the spokesman saying: "The existing management structure has not worked so we'll pay Mike Ashley what it takes to get rid of him.
"The level of expertise we have is in discovering the real problem preventing success. We want to find the root problem and turn the club around.
"We will give the Newcastle fans what they want."