Ashley 'sorry for mistakes'
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has apologised for the club's relegation to the Championship, branding their demise as a 'catastrophe'.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 26/05/09 10:50pm
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has apologised for the club's relegation to the Championship.
The Magpies' 16-year stay in the Premier League came to an end on Sunday after they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
Tyneside legend Alan Shearer was appointed as the side's interim manager in April after head coach Joe Kinnear was taken seriously ill.
But the former Newcastle striker was unable to save the club from demotion and he has since called for "root and branch surgery from top to bottom" at St James' Park.
Shearer was only contracted to oversee the Magpies until the end of the season but on Tuesday he was locked in talks with Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias over plans to resurrect the troubled club.
In a statement on the club's official website, Ashley said: "Seeing Newcastle United relegated from the Premier League has been a catastrophe for us all.
"I fully accept that mistakes were made during this and previous seasons and I am very sorry for that.
"I would like to say sorry to our magnificent supporters who have turned up in their thousands, home and away, up and down the country and who have given the team amazing backing throughout.
"And I would also say sorry to all of the club's hard-working staff, who have gone about their jobs all year long.
"Bringing Alan Shearer back to Newcastle United was the best decision I have made. Alan and his staff did all they could to try and keep us up in the short space of time they had.
"Talks are now ongoing between us about how we can take this club forward again."
Ashley, who took over in the North East in June 2007, was chastised by supporters earlier this season following the departure of Magpies favourite Kevin Keegan.
After heavy pressure, the businessman revealed he planned to sell the club, however, amid a difficult financial climate, he was unable to find a suitable buyer.
Ashley turned to Kinnear in September following Keegan's exit but the former Wimbledon boss was forced to undergo triple heart bypass surgery and Chris Hughton temporarily took the reins before Shearer was appointed.