Ashley to sell naming rights after taking Toon off market

NEWCASTLE owner Mike Ashley last night officially took the club off the market and appointed caretaker boss Chris Hughton as the team&rsquo;s permanent manager.<br /><br />The announcement brought to an end months of extreme uncertainty, triggered by the club&rsquo;s relegation from the Premier League in May and Ashley&rsquo;s subsequent decision to put them up for sale.<br /><br />North-east businessman Barry Moat had been in the running to buy the Magpies, but the club said he had failed to meet Ashley&rsquo;s price of &pound;80m in cash. A club statement added that Ashley, who bought Newcastle for around &pound;130m in July 2007, would inject a further &pound;20m into the club this week.<br /><br />And he plans to sell naming rights to their St James&rsquo; Park stadium &ndash; a move that is likely to make his popularity among the club&rsquo;s fans plummet to an all-time low.<br /><br />Ashley held off appointing a permanent manager while the possibility of a sale remained, but Hughton, who has guided the club to the top of the Championship, has signed a twwo-year contract until summer 2011.<br /><br />Hughton said: &ldquo;It is a very proud day for me to be named as the manager of this magnificent football club. I will be doing everything in my power to get the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.&rdquo;<br /><br />A Newcastle statement confirmed: &ldquo;The club had been trying to broker a deal with a number of prospective buyers in recent months however none of those deals came to fruition.<br /><br />Regarding Moat&rsquo;s bid, the club said: &ldquo;That particular bid has now fallen through due to the cash price of &pound;80m not being met. <br /><br />&ldquo;In confirming the news, Mike Ashley stated that he is totally committed to the future success of Newcastle United and will be focussing on gaining promotion back to the Premier League. Mike will put a further &pound;20m into the Club this week.&rdquo;