Newcastle United and Mike Ashley: the timeline

Mike Ashley's controversial ownership of Newcastle United has come to an end.
OWNER: Mike Ashley watches a Newcastle United game at St James' ParkOWNER: Mike Ashley watches a Newcastle United game at St James' Park
OWNER: Mike Ashley watches a Newcastle United game at St James' Park

The Sports Direct owner was in charge for 14 years featuring plenty of lows and the odd high.

May 23, 2007: to great surprise and without prior warning it is announced that Mike Ashley - a little-known Buckinghamshire businessman and owner of Sports Direct - is to buy Newcastle United for £135m. Ashley declined to do due diligence.

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June 7, 2007: chairman Freddy Shepherd, who has been ill in hospital, agrees to sell his 28 per cent stake to Ashley, allowing a full takeover. The move is widely popular with Ashley, then reckoned to be the 25th-richest man in Britain, hailed as "the Geordie Abramovich". He courts popularity by attending games in a replica shirt, sitting with the fans at away matches, downing a pint (illegally) live on television in one, and buying fans post-match drinks in the city's pubs.

June 2007: on the day Ashley takes over, Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka joins on a free transfer. Later that month £5.8m Joey Barton becomes the first player bought by Ashley.

January 9, 2008: Sam Allardyce sacked as manager.

January 16, 2008: club legend Kevin Keegan returns for a second spell as manager.

September 4, 2008: Keegan resigns as manager. Chris Hughton is made caretaker.

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September 14, 2008: after huge protests before, during and after the club's defeat to Hull City, Ashley announces the club is for sale.

September 29, 2008: Joe Kinnear is put in temporary charge of the team. His first press conference starts with a blazing, foul-mouthed row with journalists for their "negative" coverage of his first few days in charge.

December 28, 2008: Ashley takes the club off the market, saying he has been unable to find a suitable buyer.

April 2, 2009: with Kinnear suffering heart trouble, Alan Shearer is made caretaker manager.

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May 24, 2009: Newcastle are relegated to the Championship after Shearer picks up five points from his eight matches in charge.

August 2009: the new season starts with Ashley in talks to sell the club to local businessman Barry Moat, and Hughton again put in caretaker charge until the sale goes through.

October 2, 2009: Keegan wins £2m compensation plus interest for "constructive dismissal" as his complaints about interference from director of football Dennis Wise and others are aired in public.

October 27, 2009: Ashley again takes the club off the market, promising to inject a further £20m. Hughton is given the manager's job permanently.

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April 5, 2010: Newcastle win promotion with victory over Sheffield United, and go on to claim the title.

December 6, 2010: when Newcastle follow a 5-1 win over Sunderland and a 1-0 win at Arsenal, two points from five matches causes the popular Hughton to be sacked as manager and replaced with Alan Pardew later that week.

November 4, 2011: St James' Park is renamed the " @ St James' Park Stadium" in the hope of attracting a future title sponsor for the famous ground. There is outrage on Tyneside.

May 13, 2012: Newcastle miss out on a Champions League spot but qualify for the Europa League. Days earlier Pardew has been named Premier League and the League Managers Association manager of the season.

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October 9, 2012: Newcastle sign a controversial and much-criticised shirt sponsorship deal with Wonga, who as part of the deal return St James' Park's historic name.

January 22-25, 2013: relegation-threatened Newcastle sign Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara from Ligue 1.

April 14, 2013: three days after Benfica knock Newcastle out of the Europa League quarter-finals, a 3-0 defeat at home to Sunderland prompts riots which lead to 29 arrests.

June 18, 2013: Kinnear returns to the club as director of football. The following day managing directior Derek Llambias resigns, with Ashley taking the role.

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October 25, 2014: Ashley wins control of Rangers but he is unable to increase his stake from 8.92 per cent to 29.9 per cent because of dual ownership rules.

December 31, 2014: Pardew, who fans had long wanted sacked, leaves to become manager of Crystal Palace. Coach John Carver is put in charge until the end of the season.

May 24, 2015: after the final match of the season Ashley gives his first televised interview, telling Sky Sports he would only sell the club when it won a trophy.

June 10, 2015: former England manager Steve McClaren is the club's new manager, and also has a seat on the board, which Ashley resigns from.

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March 11, 2016: after the sacking of McClaren, Rafael Benitez becomes the club's new manager but is unable to prevent their second Premier League relegation under Ashley.

April 24, 2017: for the second time under Ashley, Newcastle win promotion to the Premier League. They go on to win the Championship.

June 23, 2017: Ashley sells his stake in Rangers having annoyed the fans two years earlier by trying to use their Ibrox ground as security against a £10m loan.

October 16, 2017: Ashley again announced Newcastle are up for sale to an owner "capable of delivering the sustained investment in and dedication to the club that is necessary for it to achieve its ambitions".

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July 1, 2019: the popular Benitez fails to renew his contract as manager.

July 17, 2019: Newcastle poach Steve Bruce from Sheffield Wednesday. Although a boyhood fan born and brought up in the area he is unpopular having previously managed Sunderland and his attritional football is heavily criticised by supporters despite its similarities in style and substance to Benitez's.

April 14, 2020: it emerges a consortium of PCP Capital Partners, Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia have applied to take the Premier League's Owners and Directors' Test to allow them to buy the club for £300m.

April 21, 2020: Amnesty International writes to the Premier League urging them to reject the takeover because of Saudi Arabia's human rights record. Middle Eastern broadcaster beIN also objects over the government turning a blind eye to piracy of its Premier League coverage. MPs later join the clamour.

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July 30, 2020: the takeover is off, with the consortium saying the delayed response from the Premier League made it untenable.

August 14 2020: Premier League chief executive Richard Masters responds to a letter from a Newcastle MP, saying that a lack of clarity over who would control the club was to blame for the collapse. Staveley's consortium say they have made it clear they are independent of the Saudi government.

September 10, 2020: The Premier League deny the club's claim the previous day that they have rejected a takeover.

May 6, 2021: Papers reveal Ashley is seeking damages, interests and costs from the Premier League.

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July 19, 2021: the planned arbitration between the Premier League and Newcastle is postponed until early 2022.

September 29, 2021: a separate and televised Competition Appeal Tribunal begins, and features allegations Newcastle had been threatened with expulsion from the league.

October 6, 2021: Saudi Arabia lifts its ban on beIN Sports ban, lifting the political obstacle to a takeover.

October 7, 2021: Newcastle United are under new owners.