Newcastle supporters launch fund to buy stake in club

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
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(Reuters) - The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) launched a fund on Thursday to try and buy a stake in the Premier League outfit if owner Mike Ashley sells.

Newcastle's proposed 300 million pound ($412.47 million)takeover by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium collapsed last year after the group declined independent arbitration.

Newcastle are 17th in the English top flight with 29 points, three points above the relegation zone with eight games left.

The NUST's fund, called "The 1892 Pledge", urges fans to make donations of anything over 1 pound.

"The Trust is raising money so that if Newcastle United is relegated under Mike Ashley (again) and fails to win promotion back to the Premier League (or worse suffers another relegation) ... we are ready to save the club if it needs saving," read the NUST statement

The fund has four trustees including former Newcastle and England defender Warren Barton and member of parliament Ian Mearns.

"It is the supporters that make Newcastle United valuable. It is me and you. We are the asset that the owner of the club seeks to make millions in profit from," the statement added.

"The 1892 Pledge Scheme seeks to allow us to represent ourselves when the club is sold. We are Newcastle United. This club is our club."

($1 = 0.7273 pounds)

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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