MIKE ASHLEY will ‘close the Newcastle retail store and make all staff redundant’, according to reports.
It is thought the decision is part of the deal with the Saudi-backed new ownership bid.
According to the Daily Mail, the shop at St James’ Park must be cleared out by next week with all jobs going.
The store is currently owned by Ashley’s Sports Direct company but looks set to be handed back over to Newcastle.
Just as non-essential retail can reopen, it now looks set for further closure in order to be refurbished.
The report adds that when it does allow fans back in again, it will only stock Castore merchandise.
The British brand, made famous by Andy Murray, are on course to become the Toon’s kit suppliers from next season in a £5million deal.
A letter to staff reportedly cited incoming owners, hinting the £300m takeover attempt by the consortium fronted by Amanda Staveley could be back on.
Staveley joined forces with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Reuben brothers to try and buy Newcastle from Ashley.
The Saudi PIF, headed by ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was due to stump up 80 per cent of the deal price, with ten per cent each from the billionaire Reuben brothers and PCP Capital Partners, headed by Staveley.
But the deal collapsed last summer when the consortium withdrew their interest after a lengthy, drawn-out process.
Ashley launched legal action against the Premier League for preventing the takeover.
He claimed they had officially rejected the proposal by ruling the prospective new brass had failed their Owners’ and Directors’ Test centred largely around a piracy feud.
Premier League boss Richard Masters reiterated his belief that all correct procedures were followed.
Ashley is still desperate to sell and told Sky Sports earlier this year the club will fight ‘tooth and nail’ to get what they ‘deserve.’
DEAL BACK ON?
And now the Mail suggests the consortium has retained its interest in the purchase.
A successful outcome in the private arbitration hearing against the Premier League could see a sale wrapped up quickly.
Last week, Magpies supporters launched their own ambitious bid to buy a stake in the club.
Spearheaded by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST), the 1892 Pledge hopes to eventually raise enough money to own a one per cent stake.
Meanwhile, American billionaire James Pallotta, the former Roma owner, hinted he is considering buying Newcastle.
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds