As we are currently on a two week break from domestic football and keeping in mind I have minimal interest in how England (or any other International team) get on, unless it involves injuries to Newcastle players, I think it might be the right time to comment on the possibility of Newcastle United being sold by current owner Mike Ashley.
Since huffing Kevin Keegan and subsequently drawing the wrath of supporters back in 2008, Mike has had the club up for sale on numerous occasions, some may even say it was never really off the market at all in the past ten years.
For if someone was to come in with an offer that he was willing to accept, then he would gladly sell and be rid of what he must surely see as a massive hassle, despite the perks and freebies given to S****s D****t.
The presence of Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners at the Liverpool match caused much stir among fans after the game, many thinking that finally some movement may be occurring with a view to drawing a line under the last ten years of Mike Ashley running the club down and accepting deliberate failure.
This appearance may have been coincidental and has indeed been played down since, but she can’t have gone away being anything but impressed with what she saw of the stadium, fans and potential of the club – IF the right owner was running things.
Mike Ashley has stated recently that “I’ve put my £250million into the football club” and that he isn’t willing to put any more money in for Rafa to buy players, unless a player goes out for silly money.
That was very clear in the recent transfer window, so we are where we are and we aren’t going to improve much, unless somebody comes in and buys him out.
So what would he accept? It’s difficult to answer that, but if you base the value of the club on that £250m that he mentioned, and then add on a little more to seal the deal, it’s probably fair to say that £300m would get you the club, any more and it would be priced out of the market for a potential buyer.
I’ve read various figures being bandied about and one was an ambitious £400m. Let’s just say that IF this club has a good season and IF it’s flirting with a European place, even if it misses out, it’s still a showcase to what the club can achieve with the most minimal of investment, albeit with a truly top class manager and that £400m would certainly look more attainable.
So let’s say that an ambitious billionaire takeover happens and us fans get our wish, with Mike Ashley slinging his hook and pocketing £300-400m. The club would surely prosper, probably not in the short-term as it would still take a couple of seasons to get into the top eight and be in a position to attract players to take us even further, but potential buyers will surely know this and the money floating about from oil rich states and the American tycoons of this world would certainly be welcome after the paucity of the current rich man in charge.
As an aside, one slightly amusing thought did occur.
There is one outcome in all this that would cause a right titter on Tyneside and one that once pondered upon for more than a second and then dismissed as total rubbish, that would suddenly become a quite realistic possibility, especially to a callous businessman such as Ashley.
Since we the fans don’t like him (and we assume) he doesn’t like us, with £300-400m burning a hole in his pocket, Ashley would need some outlet to parade his other business (for free) like he currently enjoys at St James Park. You don’t get that sort of publicity for nowt and if he actually had to pay for the privilege it would certainly cost him.
Step forward S********d Football Club.
Now don’t be too hasty in rubbishing the idea. SAFC are currently at a low enough value to be quite affordable in the scheme of things. It wouldn’t cost £200m to buy and if the club continues the way they are going, then that value would only decrease further.
Imagine selling a £300-400m football club and acquiring one for less than half and still being able to advertise your other business for free. Sound ridiculous? Not really, as both Mike Ashley and Ellis Short are reportedly keen to sell and move on.
The more you look at it the more the prospect could appeal to Ashley, as well as providing massive amusement for Newcastle fans. Now I don’t really care where he goes as long as he does, and this club has the best possible chance to prosper, and a line is drawn under the whole sorry saga that has been the last decade under Mike Ashley.
This season is going to be nip and tuck right until the end but we are averaging points well and looking quite robust compared to previous seasons in the Premier League, funny what having a top class manager can do for you.
On the subject of a potential new horizon with new owners, there’s no smoke without fire and any potential takeover won’t happen overnight and will most certainly not occur until the summer, so it’s fair to say that we just need to keep supporting Rafa and the lads and put this club in the best possible position to move on from the last decade of relative drudgery.