Newcastle United boss Mike Ashley says he won't sell
Businessman regrets buying beleaguered club and tells fans there's no more money for players
Mike Ashley "regrets" buying Newcastle United but says he is "wedded" to the team and will not sell - even if the Magpies are relegated for the second time since he took over.
However, the Sports Direct boss admitted he no longer has any say in the running of the club he bought in 2007 and warned he would not offer the board more money for players.
"Do I regret getting into football? The answer is yes," he said, in a rare interview carried by most newspapers.
"I have had tonnes of fun in it but I haven’t been able to make the difference I wanted to... I wanted to help Newcastle, I wanted to make it better. I do not seem to have had that effect."
Asked if going down to the Championship again would make him sell up, he replied: "I am wedded to Newcastle… They've got me and I've got them. That's just the way it is."
Ashley also says he had handed over the day to day running of Newcastle to Lee Charnley and the board on account of the "negativity" around his stewardship.
"I don't know what players they sign, I don’t know what team they are going to pick on a Saturday," he said.
He added that he will not be giving any more money to the club, which owes him around £130m, but does not pay interest on the debt, according to The Times.
"All I said was, 'There is a bank account and when you have emptied it, it is empty... Don’t come crying to me for any more money. But you have a big balance in the bank account so have a go.' They proper had a go at it this season I think everyone would agree and the result has not been ideal. There is virtually nothing in the bank account, they have emptied it," he said.
Newcastle are now second from bottom of the Premier League and three points from safety. New manager Rafa Benitez, who took over from Steve McClaren earlier this month, has earned only one point from his first two games in charge.