UK Newcastle United football club is about to get a new owner. For 12 years, the club was owned by Mike Ashley, a British billionaire and a sports goods retail mogul. Initially warmly welcome by the fans for saving the club from certain financial collapse in 2017, he later became increasingly unpopular: first, for the alleged underfunding of the club, and later for renaming a more than century-old St. James Park stadium to Sports Direct Arena after his company.
Now, the is about to get a new start, as Ashley reportedly agreed to sell the club for almost $450 million.
Mike Ashley is genuinely selling Newcastle United. Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan — the start of a new era pic.twitter.com/Y0qACOEhnt— Sam Quinn (@samquinnn) 26 мая 2019 г.
The buyer is Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, according to a report by The Sun, a 61-year old member of Abu Dhabi royal family and a largely successful entrepreneur, and a faounder of Bin Zayed Group, a construction conglomerate.
The personal net worth of Sheikh Khaled is undisclosed, but his family is believed to be worth $150 billion, according to The Mirror.
Interestingly, he is a cousin of Sheikh Mansour, the owner of Manchester City, who also tried to buy Newcastle in 2008, but to no avail. Sheikh Khaled himself has no previous experience of running a football club, but he is a president of UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation, The Mirror reports. His cousin Sheikh Mansour has successfully transformed Manchester City into the best team in the Premier League, The Mirror notes, so he might as well provide some useful assistance.
According to The Sun, the contract has already been signed by both parties and submitted to the Premier League officials.