NEWCASTLE UNITED have rubbished reports linking the club with a fresh takeover bid and quashed suggestions Alan Pardew is close to being sacked.
Reports surfaced yesterday that the Magpies were the subject of interest from WWE owner Vince McMahon, who has been linked with a bid for the club before.
However, despite mounting pressure from disgruntled supporters, club officials insist owner Mike Ashley has no intention to sell the club and that they are not aware of any interest from US-based McMahon.
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Yohan Cabaye’s sale to Paris St Germain in January without a replacement, and a subsequent dip in form for the Tynesiders has increased concern amongst sections of supporters, but their hopes the club could soon be sold have been dashed for now.
Pressure has also been mounting on Pardew after three heavy defeats in a row – including a 3-0 home loss to rivals Sunderland - but the club has hit out at reports the Magpies boss is on the verge of being dismissed.
A report in a national newspaper on Sunday suggested the Magpies must beat Aston Villa on Sunday for Pardew to save his job, but club responded by releasing a statement on its official website yesterday.
The statement read: “The Club feels it necessary to respond to the article published in the Sunday Express newspaper, headlined 'Pardew's One Game From Sack - Beat Villa or it's the Bullet', and claimed as an 'exclusive' by the paper. The article was written by John Richardson.
“We consider it extremely poor practice for a newspaper to print such an article without first seeking comment or clarification from the Club. The article was completely untrue and we can only assume published for commercial reasons or as an attempt to unsettle and disrupt.
The article also created subsequent ill-informed and damaging coverage in other media outlets and across social media.
“Newcastle United will not accept false, misleading, mischievous or inflammatory reporting such as this and will take appropriate action as and when necessary.
“To this end, Newcastle United can confirm that the Sunday Express is banned with immediate effect. This ban does not extend to the paper's sister publications, including the Daily Star, who made contact with the Club to check the validity of the story and accordingly did not publish it.”
The Magpies are back in action this weekend when they host Paul Lambert’s men at St James’ Park. Having had a free weekend due to their FA Cup exit, an extra week of preparation has put some of Pardew’s injured players in contention to return.
Fabricio Coloccini hasn’t played since the New Year’s Day defeat to West Brom because of a knee injury, but the centre back could provide the Magpies’ defence with a timely boost.
Newcastle have conceded ten goals in their last three outings, including seven at St James’ Park, and if fit the Argentine defender is expected to go straight back into the side.
Pardew will also check on the availability of Cheik Tiote, who has missed the last two games through injury but trained this week, while Loic Remy is also expected to return after completing a three-match ban following his red card in the goalless draw at Norwich City.