NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Newcastle United fans protest against chairman Mike Ashley outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on September 29, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Boxers, Bin Laden & Biscuits: 4 Bizarre People Linked With Takeovers at Newcastle

It's no secret that Newcastle United have suffered under owner Mike Ashley for the better part of his almost 11-year tenure. During that span, Ashley has put the club up for sale twice (most recently in October 2017), but thus far there have been no successful bids. 

Amanda Staveley's ultimately failed pursuit of the Magpies was the closest any group has come to taking the club from Ashley, until recently when the Bin Zayed group became the latest to bid for the club.

There have been some quite epic rumours materialising about interested parties, ranging from the realistic to the ridiculous over the years, and here's a look back at four of the strangest people to have been linked with buying the Magpies...

4. Osama Bin Laden

OK, so it wasn't Bin Laden himself who was reportedly interested in Newcastle in 2008 (that would have been quite audacious, considering the terrorist was the most wanted man in the world at the time).

But word on the street was that a construction company owned by the Bin Laden family were looking to make a £300m move for the club. That report was immediately quashed by Newcastle, and owner Ashley, speaking to the Telegraph, added: "I think I'll start with people from Newcastle, not in some cave in Afghanistan."

3. Murat Ulker

In October last year, reports started circulating that Murat Ulker, a Turkish biscuit tycoon worth a reported £3bn, was readying a £220m bid for Newcastle. 

Ulker is the chairman of Yildiz Holdings, who own familiar brands including Penguins, Jaffa cakes and McVitie's. However, Ulker never signed a non-disclosure agreement with the club (unlike eventual bidder Amanda Staveley), so his supposed interest in the club was always cast with a hefty dose of skepticism. When no bid came from Ulker, there wasn't much surprise. 

More importantly, it meant Newcastle fans were denied the enjoyment of seeing players and staff munching away on various biscuits on the bench during matches. Shame.

2. Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon is the billionaire owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), which you could consider a 'sport', you'd guess, so perhaps his rumoured interest in Newcastle wasn't too far-fetched. 

Those links starting cropping up on social media in 2011, and gained enough steam that reporters from the Chronicle asked the club about McMahon's supposed interest. 

But once again, Newcastle dismissed the reports instantly.

1. Floyd Mayweather

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather was linked with the Toon in March 2018.

"You better believe if I were to invest in I would be back partying there often," the boxing legend stated, as reported by the Star on Sunday, via the Chronicle. "I love Newcastle, those guys like to party as hard as any city I have been to anywhere in the world."  

The 41-year-old, who has never lost a professional bout, has earned over $1bn in his fighting career

"I met some of the players last year and they are good guys," Mayweather said. "I am always open to new business opportunities and I love all sports, but I invest with my head not my heart." 

Perhaps the most ridiculous/interesting part of the story was that Mayweather believed he could convince Cristiano Ronaldo to finish his career in the black and white stripes, were he to buy the club: "Cristiano Ronaldo has been a long-time supporter and buddy of mine, so I might even be able to get him to finish his career off at Newcastle."

Mad, even by Newcastle's standards.