A week ago The Times reported that a number of parties had signed non-disclosure agreements with Mike Ashley, allowing them to examine the club’s books, ahead of making offers for Newcastle United.
The newspaper claimed this was a follow on from earlier talks in the summer with Chinese investors, keen to but the club.
Last Saturday’s exclusive drew some scepticism, with allegations it was a PR stunt put forward by Ashley’s minion, Keith Bishop.
George Caulkin, who covers north east football for Times, and is usually very reliable, wasn’t involved with the exclusive, instead it being generated from head office in London. Further weakening its believability.
This though hasn’t prevented ‘new’ claims today, with the Chronicle claiming their own exclusive.
The local newspaper stating they have:
‘Learned of one consortium based in China that has signed a non-disclosure agreement with United as it seeks to put together an offer that will entice Ashley to part with the club.
‘The agreement is intended to keep things as quiet as possible but it is step forward from the expressions of interest that prompted Ashley’s advisors to engage in their fishing expedition for possible investors at the start of the summer following promotion from the Championship. The people involved are serious characters who have links in the Far East.
‘It might be that any takeover along these lines would follow the model set by West Brom or Southampton – targeted investment in infrastructure and the transfer market to enable Newcastle to grow – rather than the Manchester City-style mega investment that feels unlikely in the current financial climate.’
Only the Chronicle will know whether or not this is simply a rehash of story from The Times…but certainly you have to be highly sceptical as to whether there is any truth in the claims/rumours.
It is a sad fact that we have a situation whereby the main local newspaper, the Chronicle, can’t even get to speak to anybody of any importance at the club, other than Rafa Benitez.
Even puppet Lee Charnley is off limits to the local media, no chance to quiz anybody involved in the running of NUFC, to pose the questions fans would like answered.
The Chronicle even admitting in this piece today, that 13 questions they put forward to the club at the start of September, have simply been ignored.
Then looking beyond Charnley, the local media certainly aren’t allowed access to the shadowy minions such as Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop, who really pull the strikings on behalf of Mike Ashley at NUFC.
So the bottom line is, the Chronicle surely haven’t got today’s story from anybody at Newcastle United, unless of course it has been fed to them by the Ashley minions, for his own particular purposes.
Which leaves us with the other side of any deal, where would the Chronicle get knowledge of serious players signing non-disclosure agreements?
Claims of buying and selling of football clubs are arguably even far worse than the transfer window circus, with pretty much the same level of accuracy in the predicted outcomes. So many chancers have come along, including at Newcastle, so even if somebody has told the local media that they are going to buy NUFC, how could you gauge the truth of it?
Whether it is The Times, The Chronicle, or whoever, I find the whole thing unlikely.
When Mike Ashley sells, which he will do one day, one year…I’m sure we will wake up one morning and the deal with be done, rather than the typical length of time it took Newcastle to make signings this summer.