MIKE Ashley will sell Newcastle United if a prospective owner is willing to replicate Sheikh Mansour’s impact at Manchester City.
That is the admission of Derek Llambias, who says it would be “irresponsible” of the current regime to deprive Newcastle fans of something they can’t give them. The Abu Dhabi cash injection at City has turned the club from a middleweight Premier League force into champions of England who have ambitions to conquer Europe. The procession of top internationals through the doors at the Etihad over the past three years has been breathtaking. Ashley is one of Britain’s wealthiest individuals, but his financial punch is no match for Mansour, hence Newcastle’s desire to do things differently.
But if another Mansour were to approach the club, Llambias says they would not hold on to Newcastle despite feeling confident that their blueprint can eventually deliver success.
“I think everything is for sale. In life, everything is for sale,” he said. “It’s like in your personal life, you’ve got your house and your family and you’re very happy with that.
“Suddenly someone knocks on your day and says ‘There’s a big price for your house’. You’ll think: ‘I will do that – if it’s 40 or 50% more than I thought I would get you’ll think I’ll do that because it wouldn’t make sense for you not to.
“For us, if someone knocks on the door with a huge offer to buy the club and says ‘This is our ambition’ then it’s a conversation that it’s only sensible to have.
“It would be irresponsible of us to say we wouldn’t have that discussion if there’s someone interested in making a big investment and they want to put their wealth into Newcastle. It would be irresponsible of us not to give the fans their dream.”
SIX-MATCH DEAL INCLUDES DERBY
NEWCASTLE United’s newly-unveiled Six Game season ticket package is an attempt to turn St James’ Park into a hostile environment for visiting teams, while also making attendance more affordable for the average fan.
United managing director Derek Llambias unveiled the new season ticket package on Thursday with a pledge to continue coming up with ways to draw people back into the ground.
The package starts at £110 for adults and £55 for children, and includes the Tyne-Wear derby in April – which is unlikely to go on general sale if the Six Game package sells out. The idea is to create a sold-out stadium, while also making tickets more affordable.
Llambias said: “We’ve always tried to make coming to watch football here affordable. This is a big stadium – 52,000 people (can get in),” he said.
“You’ve got to make it affordable because times are tough at the moment, you can’t get away from that. You can’t get away from the local economy and what’s happening up here. So we introduced the 10-year deal, we introduced the nine-year deal, the 50% season ticket offer, and now this six-game deal.”
Llambias said it is not a money-grabbing initiative – it is about atmosphere.
“This isn’t about finance. We’ve already got three sell-outs in that six-game deal,” he said.
“It is about filling the stadium. We benefit as a club and a team as it becomes a fortress here.
“That’s the whole idea. If we can generate an atmosphere like Chelsea every home game then this is a tough place to come. We talked to different people who aren’t connected to us.
“We talk to agents of different players and they say they don’t like coming here. It is intimidating. That’s what we need every week. If we can do that, we’ll find ourselves in the right space.”
Anyone interested in the package should call the box office on 0844 372 1892, go to www.nufc.co.uk/ticketoffer or call in to the Box Office in person.