LONDON - Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has said the club is not for sale and he will not be leaving until some silverware has been won.
In a rare interview before the club's 2-0 home win over West Ham, which secured their Premier League status in the final match of the season on Sunday, Ashley said he could not have foreseen the relegation dogfight the Magpies found themselves in. "I can't have imagined it (the club's predicament) from Christmas. I probably didn't anticipate the club to be anywhere near this situation. After the last couple of weeks I'm a little bit shocked where we are today," he told Sky Sports.
The win against the Hammers, with goals from Moussa Sissoko and Jonás Gutierrez, made Premier League survival certain for Newcastle, with Hull City drawing 0-0 against Manchester United.
Newcastle boss John Carver has been under severe pressure from fans for a run of defeats which saw the club slide down the league table to 17th place, just two points better off than Hull going into the final game.
However, asked who was to blame, Ashley said "responsibility stops at my door", but added "I'm not going anywhere until we win something. That includes getting a Champions League place. I won't be selling it (the club) until I do. Not at any price."
He also said he would play no direct part in deciding who would be in charge of the team next term.
"Managing director Lee Charnley and the football board will make a decision about any new manager" he said. "I will not be picking the next manager." Carver, who described the victory over West Ham as "a proper rollercoaster" said it was "fantastic" that Ashley had said he wanted to win trophies.
"Fair play to Mike you know, because we all want this club to be united and we all want to win things," Carver said. "It's a big, big summer for the football club, this summer. We have to invest, we know that and Mike knows that."
Asked about his own future Carver - who took over when Alan Pardew left at the turn of the year - said "from day one I wanted this job and I still want this job. This week was tough, I tried not to show it, but it was like a build up to a cup final, we have won the cup final."
Newcastle, despite a large and vociferous fan-base, have won few major trophies in the modern era, taking the FA Cup in 1955 and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.