Mike Ashley has spoken to the press following his Newcastle United departure.

The Sports Direct man has finally left St James’ Park, selling the club to Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium.

For a long time it felt like this deal would never happen. Ashley agreed to sell the club in April 2020. 18 months later and the deal has finally been completed.

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Now Toon fans can dream of a brighter future, while Ashley can live safe in the knowledge that thousands of Geordies won’t be chanting for him to leave every week.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

It’s been a horrendous 14 years since Ashley bought the club, with very few highs and plenty of lows. But what is the former owner’s biggest regret?

Champions League miss is Ashley’s biggest Newcastle regret

In an interview with the Sun, Ashley has stated that his biggest regret came in 2012 during Alan Pardew’s tenure.

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“My greatest regret was that we so narrowly missed out on a Champions League place in 2011/12 when we finished fifth,” he said.

“We were a whisker away. I hoped that we could go on to build from there but it was not to be.”

Finishing fifth was the biggest achievement of the Ashley era. It was an astonishing season where we came so close to finishing in the top four.

However, Ashley’s comment about hoping the club could build from there is questionable. Following that season, Vurnon Anita was the only first-team addition.

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If he wanted to kick on from there, why didn’t he back Pardew that summer?

Instead, the Magpies had largely the same squad, and struggled with the extra games as they went deep into the Europa League.

While Ashley’s biggest regret is missing out on Champions League qualification, Toon fans will simply regret that he didn’t sell the club sooner.

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