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S.Africa consortium interested in Newcastle: report

SoccerNews in English Premier League 28 Sep 2008

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A consortium of South Africa businessmen were on Sunday reported to be interested in purchasing crisis-ridden Premier League side Newcastle.

Newcastle have already been in talks with a group of Nigerian tycoons trying to put together enough funds to meet owner Mike Ashley's 400 million pound asking price.

Now it's emerged that a second white knight may be on the horizon in the shape of a group of British-based tycoons whose fortune has been made from rescuing and rejuvenating household brands around the world.

A report in The News of the World suggests the South Africans have put together a 350m pound offer.

“We are serious about Newcastle, we believe they are an iconic institution who deserve to be run professionally,” an unnamed spokesman for the South Africans told the paper.

The spokesman added that Kevin Keegan, who quit as manager this month, was the key to the group taking control, with another favourite son of the Tyneside club, Alan Shearer, also in their thoughts.

He said: “Kevin is integral to our plans. We want Kevin to be fully committed to the team and we hope to find a role for Alan Shearer.

“We are not personalities. We like to be in the background, we need to be in the background.”

The group are confident of turning around Newcastle's fortunes, with the spokesman saying: “The existing management structure has not worked so we'll pay Mike Ashley what it takes to get rid of him.

“The level of expertise we have is in discovering the real problem preventing success. We want to find the root problem and turn the club around.

“We will give the Newcastle fans what they want.”

Ashley has appointed Joe Kinnear as an interim manager until the sale of the club goes through.

Kinnear saw the scale of the task he faces for his own eyes at St James' Park on Saturday when the Magpies slumped to their fifth successive loss, this time to Blackburn, to leave them rooted one off the bottom of the table.

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