Mike Ashley has been given the best bit of advice possible, if he seriously wants to sell the club.

The Newcastle United owner has been told that ‘keeping Rafa in the tent, helping facilitate this sale, is absolutely critical’.

When Rafa Benitez approached Newcastle United in March 2016, it was surely Mike Ashley’s luckiest day of his 10+ years of owning the club, Rafa having left Real Madrid and then contacting NUFC after the sacking of Steve McClaren.

Delivering the advice to Mike Ashley on selling the club is Christian Purslow.

He has plenty of relevant experience as he was Managing Director of Liverpool when the club was sold in 2010, Purslow having to withstand attempts from Hicks and Gillett to remove him and stop the sale.

He stayed on at Liverpool for a time after the sale of the club as a special adviser and non-executive director, before eventually taking up a post at Chelsea as ‘Head of Global Commercial activities’.

Christian Purslow worked with Rafa Benitez at Anfield and clearly rates the Newcastle boss very highly, saying ‘Let me tell you, any buyer wanting to buy Newcastle will want to engage with Rafael Benitez. They have to because losing Rafael Benitez as a new owner would be a catastrophic start point’.

Purslow believes it is unusual business behaviour with Mike Ashley having gone so public in announcing/stating the club is to be sold – but thinks this shows how desperate the NUFC owner is to sell at last.

He thinks Ashley has had a reality check and realises that after two relegations (2008/09 and 2015/16) in eight Premier League seasons, plus two near misses (2012/13 stayed up when won final away game at QPR and then 2014/15 on final day of season when beating West Ham at home), this is the time to get out.

Christian Purslow speaking to Sky Sports News:

“It is very risky going public in any business, announcing it is going to be sold, but in this case it is very clear that Mike Ashley wants out as soon as possible.

“By my calculations, he has probably spent over £250m buying the club, clearing its debts, and investing.

“He has a chance now to recover that money.

“Newcastle are flying in the league, they have a fantastic coach, the Premier League money is on the up, but he knows it is a precarious position.

“He has been relegated twice in the 10 years he has owned the club.

“I don’t think he wants to take that risk again, hence the very unusual measure of not only announcing a quick sale, but that he is (also) willing to help buyers by staging the payments.

“I think there is a strong argument right now that Rafa Benitez is the key asset of the football club.

“He is a top tier manager and he is a manager used to working for the real cream teams around Europe,

“I think right now, for Mike Ashley, keeping Rafa in the tent, helping facilitate this sale, is absolutely critical.

“Let me tell you, any buyer wanting to buy Newcastle will want to engage with Rafael Benitez.

“They have to because losing Rafael Benitez as a new owner would be a catastrophic start point.”

  • Toon69

    Not sure if you saw the whole interview on SSN yesterday but he also stated that he didn’t think that any takeover deal would be completed by Xmas & that if Ashley didn’t sell by then, that Rafa would look to leave, if he doesn’t take the Toffees job before then…

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      The deal will not be complete by Christmas, however, I thnk Rafa will stay as long as he sees things happening.

      • Rich Lawson

        He’s a pragmatist and looks at the long game rather than downing tools. He has been encouraging in talking beyond this season recently and I think even if nothing happens thru’ Jan, as long as a sale is in process by then he will stay and look for a new dawn next season.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          That’s my take on it. That assumes the ownership change includes a big transfer budget of course.

          • Rich Lawson

            Yes,that has to be a must,no sane person/conglomerate would buy us without including an initial substantial sum for several new players.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            A sane person may simply buy us because we’re profitable. In which case, we’ll not see a heap load of money spent.

        • Down Under Mag

          Realistically he is only here because of the fans reaction to him and the reputation gain he is garnering because of the teams form on a shoestring, he’s had no encouragement off Ashley so the sooner a prospective new owner gets chatting to him and gives his some reassurances on fianances the better it will be before the likes of Everton come sniffing.

  • Guest 2

    “By my calculations, he has probably spent over £250m buying the club, clearing its debts, and investing.”

    But he hasn’t cleared any debts. The club, instead, owes him 144 million – way up on the debt level of when he took over.

    And what investment? He’s failed to develop the training ground and academy and won’t personally fund any player purchases. Alternatively, he’s developing the Gallowgate land (a club owned lease) for his own profit on top of the long running merchandise and advertising fiasco’s.

    AND the money he ‘invested’ following the two relegations has been paid back and/or added to the club debt.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      You know the “clearing the debts” is a figure of speech. The result is that the owner takes over the debt rather than a load of external creditors, the advantage being is the owner is not going to willingly close the business down.

      The £129m was higher than the book debt at takeover but the business was losing £36m a year so within that £129m was working capital.

      The club don’t own the Gallowgate carpark lease they sold it in 2009 to St James Holdings. It was no use to the club.

      There isn’t a merchandising and advertising fiasco.

      • Geordiegiants

        Did you ever work for the Iraqi government? You aren’t Tariq Azziz by any chance are you?

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          No, just the giver of unfortunate facts that don’t fit your anti-nufc agenda

          • Geordiegiants

            The Mike Ashley
            propaganda machine more like.
            You seriously expect people to, believe that the jumble sale would only be paying around £1m a year for advertising.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I think it would be between one & two million

          • Geordiegiants

            For all of that advertising? Everything? The training ground, the camera boards every single inch of space he can fit it on? £1-2 million?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The training ground advertising is worth very little, the camera boards are shared with lots of other firms as are the perimeter ads. If the total for Everton is £4m, Nufc is going to be around the same so £2m is the top end, £1m is at the bottom end.

  • paul mclaughlan

    He wants rid of us by Xmas so he can buy Rangers by the end of January. Apparently!

    • Peaky Magpie

      Obviously the Rangers fans don’t know this yet as I haven’t felt the shockwaves coming down from The Clyde.

      • paul mclaughlan

        There are ripples coming from Rangers fans. One of my mates works offshore and one of his Rangers supporting colleagues told him.

  • Kevin Rutherford

    He also said, he didn’t expect the deal to be done until near the end of the season, when new buyers can see what division the club is expected to be in. Premiership = high price, Championship = all bets off.

  • steve pearce

    D’oh – like we’re going to sack Rafa!

    The deal will be done by the end of November to allocate funds for the at least five players we will need to break into the top four. Judging by last night’s dismal performance we need two proven goal scoring forwards, a number ten who can actually play and a battling play making central midfielder. Throw in a goalie who can distribute the ball to his own players and that’s at least 120 million. That sort of money will be costed in to the business plan and that will take at least a month to sort out.

    • Paul Patterson

      Yeah, because business is that simple.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I hope nobody wants to accuse anyone of being deluded, they may have just got a bite.

  • Peaky Magpie

    The tax investigations are a cause for concern I feel.