Mike Ashley has broken his silence after the sale of Newcastle United to a Saudi-backed consortium was completed on Thursday.
The Sports Direct supremo sold the Magpies to the Saudi Public Investment Fund, fronted by Amanda Staveley, for £305million.
Confirmation arrived on Thursday evening, with thousands of jubilant fans gathering outside St. James's Park to celebrate the news.
Newcastle's new owners have promised significant investment, marking a contrast from Ashley's frugal 14-year reign on Tyneside.
Ashley was disliked by the club's fanbase who often criticised the decisions he made and the lack of money spent on the squad.
On his way out of the door, Ashley maintained he put the club first during the sale, rejecting a higher bid than the one he accepted.
He told The Sun: "I would like it to be known that I received a higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted.
"It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case.
"But I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would deliver the best for Newcastle United.
Ashley added how money wasn't his only consideration during his tenure as Newcastle owner and how there were times when he stepped in financially to keep the club afloat.
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He eulogised about how happy he was when the Magpies achieved immediate promotion from the Championship both in 2012 and 2017, although some fans would argue they should never have been there in the first place.
The outgoing 57-year-old admitted that despite his wealth, estimated to be around £2.718 billion, he is not in the same league as the sovereign wealth fund.
He continued: "I’ve known for some time now that many Newcastle fans were frustrated by the situation and were in favour of a change. I therefore felt that I owed it to the fans to fight tooth and nail over the last 18 months or so to make this happen."
Ashley went on to reveal his regret at narrowly missing out on the Champions League in 2012 and paid his respects to Newcastle fans, despite their vocal opposition to his reign.
He finished by wishing the Premier League side the best for the future – something that no doubt all of the Toon Army can get behind.
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