Newcastle ‘furious’ with Man Utd and immediately block Dan Ashworth’s computer | Football | Sport

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Manchester United’s pursuit of Newcastle Sporting Director Dan Ashworth has not gone down well in the north east with the club now playing hardball over his potential departure. Former FA employee Ashworth, 52, has been placed on gardening leave while negotiations take place, but may not be available to United until his contract expires in 2025 unless a deal can be struck.

According to a report in the Times, Newcastle chiefs are “furious” at the manner of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s approach. And they’ve demanded £15million in compensation for his early release, a fee essentially unprecedented for a figure in that role.

Furthermore, the club have reportedly blocked any access that Ashworth previously had to the club’s computer programmes and scouting reports. The measure is an attempt to stop him revealing key information to United about Newcastle’s internal structure and transfer policy should be make a move.

Unless Ratcliffe is prepared to pay the fee Ashworth will remain in limbo for around 20 months. Newcastle’s anger is seemingly based on claims that United have still not contacted them with an official approach, with Ashworth himself telling club figures on the weekend he intended to move.

On Friday, in his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Bournemouth, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe had labelled the situation “unusual,” but also said the club would deal with the potential blow of Ashworth departing. “Football always moves on very quickly and I say that regarding the manager’s position,” he said.

“Newcastle is a huge football club and will continue to work in a very efficient way. We’ve got some very capable people here, in all departments, so we carry on. There has to be a succession plan. For everyone. There is a strategy from the board above.”

Ashworth was working at Premier League side Brighton when he arrived at Newcastle in June 2022, having spent three months on gardening leave. That move culminated in a £4million compensation fee, little over a quarter of what United are being asked to pay this time around.

During his short tenure, Ashworth played a critical role in tying down Howe on a longer contract. It was a move that seemingly paid dividends when the club qualified for the Champions League in his first full season in charge.

But their spending this season has been hampered by Financial Fair Play restrictions. The club has also been dealt a body blow over the purchase of Sandro Tonali, who shortly after his £59millon move from AC Milan was banned from playing football for 10 months for breaching Italian betting regulations.

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