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Mike Ashley launches legal action against Amanda Staveley after Newcastle United sale

·2-min read
Amanda Staveley
Amanda Staveley

Mike Ashley has launched legal action against the City investor Amanda Staveley after she oversaw a £305m takeover of Newcastle United Football Club.

Mr Ashley, who controls the Sports Direct retail chain, has issued a claim via his company St James Holdings in the High Court against Ms Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi.

Sources close to Ms Staveley say that no communications have been received from Mr Ashley and they do not know the nature of his complaint.

It is understood that relations between the pair soured after Ms Staveley said in November that she was “looking forward” to Sports Direct signs coming down at St James’ Park following a deal to buy the club from Mr Ashley.

Ms Staveley, an investor with connections to the Middle East, has a 10pc stake in Newcastle United after working with Saudi Arabia to buy the club from Mr Ashley in October.

The following month, while posing for photographs at the team’s stadium, she was asked about a temporary ban on owner-related sponsorship deals at the club, and said: “This was so difficult for us. We've really taken a big battering. And so I'm hoping that we'll get this lifted as quickly as possible.

“And then the [Sports] Direct signage will come off. With Sports Direct, I'm looking forward to it coming down.”

Amanda Staveley and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi (left) with new Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe in November
Amanda Staveley and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi (left) with new Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe in November

Plans to remove the signs were popular with many Newcastle supporters, for whom Mr Ashley has been a controversial owner.

But a source close to Ms Staveley said they believe Mr Ashley is unhappy with the remarks she made about the signs being removed.

A source close to Mr Ashley said the legal complaint was not related to the stadium signs.

Ms Staveley agreed a deal to borrow around £10m from Mr Ashley at the time of the Newcastle takeover. Sources close to her say that she has complied with all financial agreements with Mr Ashley.

Mr Ashley’s representatives declined to comment. A spokesman for Ms Staveley declined to comment.

The legal action was first reported by the Mail on Sunday.

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