Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has put the club up for sale. And former Magpies defender Steve Howey wants any potential new owner to be someone who ‘gets the club and the area’.
Ashley bought Newcastle back in 2007 for £134 million but the club has undergone two relegations since then. The Toon faithful have never really taken the Buckinghamshire born businessman as one of their own. Friction between the fans and Ashley has persisted since the day he arrived in Tyneside with the fans have been calling for a local owner, a view that is shared by Howey.
“You just want somebody who gets the club and gets the area,” said Howey on TalkSPORT.
“God bless him we’ve just lost Freddy Shepherd, but there was Freddy and there was Sir John [Hall] who got it. They got a manager in in Kevin Keegan and backed him and we had that team that were cast as entertainers.
“Ultimately we didn’t win anything and that was a shame, but we had a fantastic team – very entertaining – and that is all the fans want.”
Howey vented his frustration out on how the club has been run under Ashley. The former defender cited the sale of the naming rights of the ground which saw St. James’ Park being renamed to Sports Direct Arena as an example. But despite being critical of Ashley, Howey warned that the club also run the risk of getting taken over by someone even worse.
“For a long time now the fans have been unhappy with how the club’s been run; the Sports Direct stuff all over the club and the change of the ground name and all this kind of thing,” he added.
“He [Ashley] admitted it was possibly a mistake with the change of the name, but even when that interview went out it intensified feelings towards Mike Ashley because everybody though it was a staged interview and everybody thought the questions that were asked he knew and the answers he was going to give.
“Sometimes you have to be honest and look at it both ways. Sometimes it’s better the Devil you know; you could get an owner in and the club could go completely wrong. But at the same time I think Newcastle fans would be more than happy to get somebody else in.”
Newcastle drew 2-2 against Southampton at St Mary’s last weekend and currently sit at 9th on the Premier League table.