Ashley takes Newcastle off market and hires Hughton

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The Independent Online

Newcastle are no longer for sale, after owner Mike Ashley took the club off the market and confirmed that Chris Hughton is now the side's permanent manager. Hughton has been given a contract until the end of the 2010-11 season.

But more significantly, perhaps, Ashley has been unable to sell and has vowed to plough another £20m into the club this week. Ashley has spoken to various prospective buyers in recent months without being able to close a deal. The club confirmed last night that Barry Moat's bid had fallen through after he failed to come up with the price of £80m.

A statement explained the club's long-term plan, which included renaming St James' Park. It said: "Whilst confirming these two matters, Newcastle United now aims to move forward on and off the pitch.

"The club aims to maximise its commercial revenues; this includes renegotiating its club sponsor and kit deal, which expire at the end of this season, as well as welcoming offers for the stadium naming rights for next season."

On Hughton's appointment, managing director Derek Llambias said: "We are delighted that Chris has accepted the post of full-time manager. He has done a terrific job this season and we wish him every success for the rest of this season and beyond. He will continue to receive our full backing and support."

Hughton said: "It is a very proud day for me to be named as the manager of this magnificent football club. I thank Mike and Derek for their support and will be doing everything in my power to get the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

"Having the unequivocal backing of the players has helped me enormously and I would also like to thank Colin Calderwood, Paul Barron and the rest of the backroom staff who have never been anything but tremendously supportive to me this season."

* Notts County have confirmed the appointment of Hans Backe as their new manager. The Swede, 57, was assistant to Sven Goran Eriksson at Manchester City and the Mexico national team. Backe, who replaces Ian McParland, won four Danish titles with FC Copenhagen and Aalborg. Sol Campbell, meanwhile, has called in players' union chief Gordon Taylor after allegedly being threatened with a five-year gagging order by County. The League Two club are refusing to release Campbell's registration so he can sign for another club until an agreement is reached on a "statement of departure". Campbell is refusing to sign the gagging order as he wants to reveal the truth behind his short spell at Meadow Lane.

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