MIKE Ashley won’t allow Newcastle United to miss out on a place in Europe because of his involvement in Rangers.
Newcastle owner Ashley also owns nine per cent of Rangers, and had been linked with a takeover of the crisis-hit Scottish giants.
That was effectively ended yesterdaqy when South African Dave King took control of the Ibrox club, although Ashley still has a sizeable influence on the club because of the merchandise contract Sports Direct has with Rangers, and the £10m loans they owe him.
There had been the threat that, should Ashley take control of Rangers and get them into Europe, then it would have stopped Newcastle playing continental football because of UEFA’s dual ownership regulations.
However, Newcastle’s board, in minutes released after a Fan’s Forum, said that the Toon owner won’t risk United’s European qualification because of his involvement with the Gers.
The minutes said: “The board stated it is aware of the UEFA regulations regarding the situation. The club and its owner would not put Newcastle United in a position where it would lose a European place because of Rangers.”
The Newcastle board, which had managing director Lee Charnley present, where also asked if Rangers would become a ‘feeder club’ for Newcastle.
This came after United loaned the Scottish Championship side five players in January – Kevin Mbabu, Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson, Remie Streete and Gael Bigirimana.
The reply said: “The board stated that it is exploring the possibility of strategic partnerships with a number of clubs. A number of Premier League clubs already have this type of arrangement/relationship. The purpose of this would be to send players to these clubs to aid their development with the ultimate beneficiary being Newcastle United.”