Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ashley Joins Bid to Buy United! OWNER'S NAMESAKE SIGNS UP TO SUPPORTERS' YES WE CAN CAMPAIGN

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ashley Joins Bid to Buy United! OWNER'S NAMESAKE SIGNS UP TO SUPPORTERS' YES WE CAN CAMPAIGN

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA HUTCHINSON

ONE sells Broon, the other's trying to sell the Toon - and the former's out to get the latter!

Meet Mike Ashley, and Mike Ashley - they share a name but little else as publican Mike has just signed up to the Newcastle United Supporter's Trust, which is trying to oust the club owner.

Organisers couldn't believe their eyes when they saw the controversial name on their list of dedicated supporters as they lead a fans' buy-out of St James' Park.

But, after a moment of confusion, they realised it wasn't the famous Mike, owner of the black and whites who sparked the Trust's formation in the first place, but the Mike Ashley who runs the Blacksmiths Arms on Gosforth High Street in Newcastle.

Mike number two was laughing up his sleeve when he put his name on the list when the Trust's roadshow arrived at his pub to get as many supporters as possible to sign up to their mission.

He thought it was one of his best pub pranks yet when word whipped around that the surprise name had signed on the dotted line.

But giggling Mike eventually put his hand up and confessed it was him and reassured everyone it was his real name.

Mike, 52, of Whickham, Gateshead, said: "When I signed up the word got out very quickly and the organisers said they didn't realise that Mike Ashley was in the pub.

"I think they thought I was joking but this is my name.

"I let them wait a while before I revealed who I was and then it was just a big laugh.

"Even some of my regulars don't believe me when I tell them my full name and I have to show them some documentation from behind the bar or a credit card."

The father-of-three, who has run the pub for almost two years, added: "When Mike Ashley came to Newcastle in 2007 I was inundated with massages of congratulations.

I was flattered that people thought I had a spare few million.

"Since then I have had the Micky taken out of me and while his popularity has plummeted, I am pleased to say my popularity has soared."

The Trust was set up after Newcastle United was put up for sale by the multimillionaire Mike Ashley.

And after months of discussions with interested parties, the Trust launched the 'Yes We Can Campaign' which aims to raise funds to lead a fans buy out at St James' Park. …

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