Official Newcastle United statement confirms major decision impacting Manchester United

Newcastle Chief Executive Officer Darren Eales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle Chief Executive Officer Darren Eales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle Chief Executive Officer Darren Eales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Newcastle United have began their search for a new sporting director after placing Dan Ashworth on gardening leave.

Dan Ashworth has left Newcastle United after commencing a period of gardening leave with the search for a new sporting director already underway.

The 52-year-old informed the Magpies of his decision to leave on Sunday amid interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United. His exit comes just 20 months after arriving from Brighton and Hove Albion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a club statement, CEO Darren Eales said: "We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn't stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately. We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future."

Getty Images

Ashworth was previously on gardening leave for three months before he joined Newcastle from Brighton in the summer of 2022. During his time at St James' Park, he made changes behind the scenes such as putting a scouting network in place and increasing the number of coaches within the academy. However, he hasn't set out what either he or Newcastle wanted him to achieve.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's 25% stake in Man United was approved by the Premier League  and FA last week, which will see his Ineos group take control of the football operations side at Old Trafford. Ashworth has close links to Sir Dave Brailsford - Ratcliffe's trusted right-hand man.

Ashworth's gardening leave doesn't expire until 2026, meaning the Red Devils will need to agree a compensation package to recruit him. As widely reported, Newcastle are ready to demand £15million to £20m for the former England technical director.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

United boss Eddie Howe said on Friday he wanted a quick resolution. Asked if the detailed intelligence Ashworth possesses about his current employers and their blueprint was a concern, Howe replied: “I think your concerns are relevant. I don’t know quite how much I can say on that, but I share your feelings.”

Howe added: “It's a difficult one because when you're in that role, I think you need longevity to actually see the fruits of your labour.

"It's sort of a long-term position and I think the people who have done it best in the Premier League throughout time have always had a period of real stability because change takes a long time at any football club to get those processes exactly how you want them to be.

"Dan's had a relatively short time here, but let's see what happens. As I say, as I sit here now, nothing has happened.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Football always moves on very quickly, and I'd say that regarding the manager's position. Newcastle is a huge football club, it will continue to work in a very efficient way regardless of who is here.

"We've got some very, very capable people here in all departments, so we would carry on very smoothly."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.