Newcastle United are being put for sale.

The Mail on Sunday says Mike Ashley will put Newcastle United officially up for sale after the most tumultuous fortnight in the club's history ended yesterday in fan protests and a dismal home defeat.

Although two parties, a rich individual from China and a home-grown consortium from the North-East, have expressed preliminary interest in buying out Ashley, he will probably have to drop his asking price of £350million to attract a buyer whose first task would be to find someone to take charge of the club no one wants to manage.

It is understood that Ashley has tried to make contact with representatives of Dubai International Capital, who were leading the ongoing bid to buy Liverpool until the project was personally taken over by Sheik Maktoum, but no talks are thought to have taken place.

Sources also claim a group of North-East businessmen with financial muscle to raise the money to buy Ashley out plan to sell on a significant block of shares to supporters.