McDermott follows Keegan out of Newcastle as fans plan direct action

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The Independent Football

On a day when there were strengthening City rumours that Newcastle United are up for sale and a curious denial of a denial from the Indian company Reliance Communications, owned by the billionaire Anil Ambani, Terry McDermott followed Kevin Keegan out of St James' Park as Newcastle fans showed the first signs of an organised reaction to the owner Mike Ashley's running of the club. Early last month Reliance provided an emphatic rejection of suggestions it was about to purchase Newcastle from Ashley, a stance it seemed to replicate on Sunday when fresh reports appeared linking the firm to St James'.

Another denial was reported, attributed to Gaurav Wahi, Reliance's vice-president, only for Wahi yesterday to deny he had spoken, saying "I don't know who has put it in my name, but I have not given a quote to anyone."

Searching for a replacement for Keegan continues to be Ashley's priority, with Slaven Bilic trying to deflect any connection to a job in the Premier League until after tomorrow night's World Cup qualifier between Croatia and England is over. With Gianfranco Zola seemingly bound for West Ham, Gustavo Poyet remains favourite. Chris Hughton and the new academy manager Richard Money are in charge for now.

Newcastle fans are advocating direct action. The club's two principal fanzines, The Mag and True Faith, yesterday issued a joint statement acknowledging that while it would be unrealistic to ask for a boycott of Saturday's home game against Hull City, supporters can register their displeasure with the current regime by abstaining from buying any merchandise and refusing to enter Shearer's Bar. They also made it clear that Ashley "is not welcome amongst our ranks" at away matches.

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