When one talks about the richest English men, Mike Ashley is among the first few names that pop up in one’s mind. One of the smartest entrepreneurs in the world, Mike Ashley is the owner of the popular English football club, Newcastle United.
Ashley is looked at as an introvert who hardly makes public appearances or gives interviews. As per the latest issue of the Forbes magazine, he is the 12th richest man (worth £1.7 billion) in Britain. However, with his club’s, Newcastle United, tickets are once again selling like hot cakes, and he is expected to break into the Top 10 soon.
Ashley grew up in Buckinghamshire and studied at Burnham Grammar School. He married Linda, an economic graduate, in 1988 and has three children with her. However, the two quietly divorced in 2003. The divorce was a major blow to Ashley that changed his financial positions to a huge degree. The settlement, worth £50m, is still among the biggest settlements in the history of the United Kingdom.
Ashley is hardly seen in public, which is why not much is known about his private life. He used to make regular appearances in Newcastle matches when Kevin Keegan was a part of the club. However, since his departure, Ashley is rarely seen attending the matches either.
He is known as a man with a lot of integrity. Some like to call him the whistleblower due to his role in the 2000s industry rival case. He handed evidence to the Office of Fair Trading and played a major role in improving the industry situation that was going out of hands.
This move brought him in the limelight and people started taking notice of his every action. However, one move that caught the most attention was his decision to buy 41.6% stake in Newcastle United in 2007. He bought the shares from Sir John Hall for one pound each under his company, St. James Holding Limited’s, name.
He was later offered by the club to buy more shares, which he ultimately did when Freddy Shepherd sold his 28% shares to him on 7th June, 2007. By mid 2007, Ashley owned over 75% of the club’s shares, which give him the right to withdraw the company from public trading.
With this move, it was cleared that he was interesting in owning the club, which he ultimately did by paying a total of £134 million within a few months of withdrawing the club from the SE.
He was both praised and criticized for the move when he announced that he was not well aware of the club’s debts when he bought it. However, his involvement proved to be very good for the club as he cleared the club’s liabilities, which allowed the club to grow once again and achieve its long-lost status.
Ashley has stated on several occasions that he is willing to sell the club if he can find a competent seller. He had even put the club on sale in 2008 for a short period of time. Many people believe that he does not enjoy owning the club mainly because he does not have an understanding of the game. He has been criticized on several occasions for moves, such as selling Andy Carroll to rival clubs.
However, Ashley has full support of fans who love his way of handling things. It is clear that Newcastle United is recovering gradually and is aiming towards the top again. Ashley, who is more of a fan of his club, is often seen partying with fans and enjoying the match in the stadium or bars. All these qualities make him one of the most loved club owners.
If you are also Ashley or Newcastle United’s fan then you can get tickets from http://www.onlineticketexpress.com/sports/football/newcastle-united-tickets to watch the team live in action.