The £305million takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi consortium was not the highest offer on the table, Mike Ashley has revealed.
Backed by Saudi's Public Investment Fund, the takeover was ratified by the Premier League on Thursday and fans were seen leaping into each other's arms, throwing drinks into the air, dancing and singing club anthems.
It brings to an end Ashley's 14-year reign as owner and while fans routinely protested in a bid to force him out, he has opened up on why his decision to take the PIF offer was done in the best interests of Newcastle.
Mike Ashley has opened up on selling Newcastle and why he didn't accept the highest offer
A Saudi consortium, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sealed a £305m takeover
Ashley told the Sun: 'I would like it to be known that I received a higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted.
'It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case. But I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would deliver the best for Newcastle United.
'Money wasn't my only consideration.'
Ashley stuck to this guns in his departing address despite being under immense pressure in recent years to sell up and leave the north east.
The Newcastle United Supporters' Trust, which has vocally campaigned against the Ashley regime, said a 'resounding' 96.7 per cent of its members wanted the Saudi consortium to take control.
For years, Newcastle fans have been protesting against Ashley, urging him to sell their club
Ashley felt he 'owed' it to fans to set them up for the best future despite their anger toward him
In an open letter posted to Twitter, the NUST said 'for the first time in many years' Newcastle fans felt the new owners could help them realise their full potential.
The open letter read: 'For the first time in many years we believe our desire for an ambitious Newcastle United that strives to be the best it can be can be a reality under your ownership.
'We admire your