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Can someone please tell me why Ashley still owns United.

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I HAVE looked through all of Mike Ashley's comments over the last couple of days regarding his ownership of Newcastle United - and I am none the wiser about his motivation now as I was before I read them.

In fact, I am more bemused now than I was before. Thoroughly bemused.

Just why does he still own Newcastle United Football Club? And why doesn't he just sell up? There is absolutely no suggestion in anything that he said that would support a theory that he enjoys owning Newcastle - and he actually admits to "regrets" about having bought the football club in the first place.

Yet Ashley insists that if the Magpies are relegated, he will not sell up and that the fans are "stuck" with him because he's "wedded" to the club just like he is to his business.

I just don't get that all. Just 10 months after making what I thought appeared to be a positive, emotional and ambitious interview to Sky Sports, he has effectively conceded that the vision he put forward then of a trophy and a high Premier League finish are now fanciful.

I just want to stress that I am not going to sit here and hammer Ashley, because he gave Lee Charnley and the club's board the green light to spend big this season - something which they have done. But his whole involvement in Newcastle and management of the club just makes no sense to me at all.

Well, that's not entirely true. I know that from a business point of view it has made perfect sense to Ashley; he's been able to use the club as a vehicle to advertise his company, which has gone from strength to strength since 2007.

But aside from that, I just don't get why he is still owner of the football club. Traditionally, owning a football club has essentially been something that wealthy people have done in part to massage their own egos - to invite their mates into the corporate box and to get their name out there as the big cheese in the local area.

Yet Ashley has always attempted to shy away from the limelight at Newcastle, after initially standing in the terraces in his replica black-and-white jersey. And in this latest interview he has attempted to step back from taking direct responsibility for United's current plight.

His excuse is he merely appoints the board members but doesn't make day-to-day decisions on the running of the club.

Well that also just doesn't tally as logical reasoning with me.

If Ashley wants to step back and not do the day-to-day running of Newcas-tle himself, he should have proper football people in decision-making positions, not the likes of Charnley, who had no previous experience of such a managing-director role.

But he hasn't done that. And instead Charnley has appointed the likes of Steve McClaren, leaving Ashley potentially staring at a second relegation as owner of the Magpies, and even more grief from rightly disgruntled supporters.

None of it makes any sense - surely owning the football club is more hassle to him than it's worth? He rarely speaks and, on the intermittent occasions when he does, there's absolutely no warmth there. Newcastle fans certainly don't have any warmth for him in return either and so they shouldn't, the way he has dragged that club through the doldrums since he bought it back in 2007.

As always with him, Ashley's latest comments have merely provided a greater number of questions than answers. The main one being: Why the heck is he still owner of Newcastle United? That question really does baffle me.


| Mike Ashley with Lee Charnley
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 23, 2016
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