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Amanda Staveley to leave Newcastle after three years at St James’ Park

<span>Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi watch <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/man-city/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Manchester City;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Manchester City</a> against <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/newcastle/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Newcastle;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Newcastle</a> at the Etihad in August 2023.</span><span>Photograph: Neal Simpson/Getty Images/Allstar</span>

Amanda Staveley is to sever ties with Newcastle, almost three years after becoming the public face of the club’s Saudi Arabian-controlled takeover.

Staveley and her husband, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, became directors and minority co-owners of Newcastle in October 2021 when Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) purchased an 80% majority stake and Staveley and Reuben Brothers each assumed 10% holdings. With Newcastle then without a chief executive or a sporting director, the Saudis handed Staveley and Ghodoussi a rolling management contract to handle the day-to-day running of the club.

The pair played a key role in appointing Eddie Howe as the manager in November 2021 and have since struck up a close relationship with the person believed to be the Football Association’s first choice to replace Gareth Southgate, should the latter resign as England coach after Euro 2024.

Related: Newcastle’s Amanda Staveley must pay £3.4m to Greek tycoon after court battle

If Howe is unlikely to be surprised by the news that the Saudis and their co-director Jamie Reuben have joined Staveley and Ghodoussi in reaching what has been described as a “reluctant” conclusion that the time is right to separate, he may well be unsettled by the loss of such key allies.

Staveley played a vital role in brokering the hugely controversial £300m deal that ended Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership of Newcastle and subsequently helped negotiate a series of key transfers involving players such as Bruno Guimarães and Kieran Trippier arriving at St James’ Park.

As Howe’s side finished fourth in the Premier League in 2022-23 and reached the League Cup final, which they lost to Manchester United, she also prioritised the club’s women’s team, proving a key figure in its rise from the fourth to the second tier.

The appointments of Darren Eales as Newcastle’s chief executive and Dan Ashworth as sporting director reduced her role though and it seemed significant that she reduced her stake to 6% last year while the Reuben Brothers increased theirs to 14%. It is unclear whether they or the Saudis – or both – have bought her out now but it is understood no fresh investors have been sought.

In March a series of listings at Companies House removing Staveley as a director of 20 companies related to Newcastle United raised questions about her future on Tyneside but, at the time, she said it was merely a form of administrative housekeeping.

That month, the financier was involved in a court case when she failed in an attempt to persuade a judge to dismiss a bankruptcy claim brought by the Greek shipping tycoon, Victor Restis who claims Staveley owes him £36m. She has said she intends to appeal against the judge’s verdict.

Yet if Staveley and Ghodoussi were preparing for a departure from Newcastle in the spring it was almost certainly delayed by Ashworth’s defection to Manchester United and the need to recruit a new sporting director.

With Paul Mitchell having arrived to fill that role last week and the recent sales of the winger Yankuba Minteh to Brighton and the midfielder Elliot Anderson to Nottingham Forest for a combined total in excess of £60m having ensured that Newcastle remained on the right side of profit and sustainability roles, it appeared Staveley’s work at St James’ Park was finally done.

Newcastle declined to comment on her departure.