Trust launch bid for Magpies
AS the Newcastle United Supporters Trust launched its bid to buy a share of the club Chris Hughton admitted he remained in the dark about the clubs long-term ownership. Organisers of the group aiming to place Magpies supporters at the heart of the running of the club claim £20m has already been pledged and backers include a number of high-profile figures. Their announcement came amid reports that owner Mike Ashley will agree a deal to transfer ownership of Newcastle to Tyneside-based businessman Barry Moat. A South African consortium has also made a last-ditch attempt to buy the club but Moat remains the preferred bidder of Seymour Pierce, the investment bank tasked by Ashley to push through a sale. But the caretaker manager has not been informed that the sale is imminent. He said: I havent had any contact with the owner and we are still waiting for a statement which either says the club has being sold or it is not going to be sold. Until that happens, all we can do is focus on the here and now. That occupies at least 95 per cent of my thoughts. We do try to plan for the long term, but in reality we cant do very much because of the situation here. Hughton, who has given the members of his squad not on international duty a couple of days off, admitted that the ongoing uncertainty was hampering his plans to retain the likes of Marlon Harewood, Zurab Khizanishvili and Danny Simpson. We have got three players in on loan and we have been delighted with all three of them so far. They have all made a contribution. But in terms of looking at turning them into permanent transfers we have not thought about it. I dont know what will happen in January in that respect. Trust spokesman Steve Hastie outlined the groups objectives. We want to show that a supporters trust can be a truly representative supporters organisation, he confirmed. He also called for a proper management structure to be installed at the club to make it a success, with the right manager, directors and financial structure working in unison. The group aim to purchase a share that will allow them to have a say in the running of the club. Their ultimate goal is to establish themselves as the major shareholders and purchase the club outright.
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