To see the back of Mike Ashley’s lacklustre contribution to recent Newcastle United history is almost too much to hope for. If it happens then I’d welcome it.

You tend to get a range of views on the idea of a takeover. Some fans seem to have amnesia when it comes to Mr Ashley. This ‘better the devil you know’ theory is simply nonsense. Two relegations and a decade of ridiculous decisions. Time to go.

I look at other clubs where foreign ownership has gone wrong…but I see many others where it has gone right.

It has allowed them to spend more and become established top flight football clubs that don’t stand still for far too long. Investment in the Premier League is vital, as long as the money is spent wisely, which is where Mr Benitez would come into play.

So where are we in terms of progress on a takeover? Well, let’s face it, nobody really knows. We’re told two or three ‘groups’ are in non-disclosure and that the financier Amanda Staveley is ‘interested’. She attended a game, heads up a middle Eastern investment fund worth £28 billion, but may also fancy buying Liverpool.

That’s it. We know very little else. Ashley will reportedly sell for £380m but that would make us the biggest sale of a football club after Manchester United. His asking price is a major issue, unless the debt element can be negotiated into incremental payments.

The merchandising arrangements through Sports Direct would be up for discussion too, not to mention the HMRC investigation into some of the club’s previous transfer dealings.

On the flip side, the purchaser will be getting one of the best supported clubs in Europe, a playing squad in rude health, a manager with a CV to boast about and a set of fans the most united they’ve been since the Robson era.

There’s been the odd moment when I’ve allowed myself to consider what life might be like after Ashley. I’ve even dared to think what it might be like if the club suddenly encountered someone with really serious wealth and willingness to speculate. The sky really would be the limit. This is where some fans refuse to accept it – that sort of thing just doesn’t happen at Newcastle Utd, right?

But there are a number of factors which support the idea that a takeover is more than a pipe dream, or a ruse by Ashley’s PR people to put the brakes on any spending.

The first key factor is that the club really is up for sale – Ashley has said so, and has Justin Barnes on board to oversee the process. Ten years down the line there seems to be a sense that he will go if the numbers are right. He said as much in that Sky interview.

Then we have the fact the club is financially very stable. Putting the HMRC thing to one side, the balance sheet is tidy, there is no major bank debt and the ground is sold out every week. A big selling point.

New TV deals are on the horizon too. These deals will be even more lucrative, so now is the time to get involved at a club that has such a strong brand.

Of all the other clubs in the Premier League, who else is up for sale? Only NUFC are so openly on the market. Staveley may very well want to buy Liverpool, but their owners apparently want a billion pounds, which seems crazy.

Apart from the red half of Merseyside I can’t see any other club in the Prem that is a better purchase option, while none of the other so-called big boys have the for sale signs up.

Can an investor get their hands on Arsenal? No. Man City? No. Spurs? No. Man Utd? No. Chelsea? No? Liverpool? Maybe, but their owners, FSG, are not clear about whether or not they want to sell up.

All roads lead to Rome, as they say. The next instalment of the saga is more hotly anticipated than the new Star Wars film.

Whichever way it turns out, you get the sense with Mr Ashley that any major development will appear like a bolt from the blue.

Watch this space.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

To feature like David Punton submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here

  • Tel Boy Telboy

    I think a lot also has to-do with what position we are in come the new year a relegation fight or hopefully safe this could have a huge decision on who buys the club, An investor will know we have a weak team and to be honest punching above our weight at the moment due to lack of money spent in the summer by Ashley and if I was an potential buyer I would wait to see where we are in the table come Jan 2018 before spending 400 million thats for sure ???

    • Guest 2

      What better reason to buy us in December then ;-)

  • TelW

    “Staveley may very well want to buy Liverpool, but their owners apparently want a billion pounds, which seems crazy.”
    Liverpool club Intcome enormous.
    Squad value at today’s prices around half of their quoted price.
    Sold out ground massive waiting list.
    Own their own ground.
    Their debt for new stand will be paid within 5 years.
    Now which club has the crazy price?

  • Toon69

    I hope we’re up for sale & don’t particularly care how much he wants for the club, just as long as he sells it quick, as I can’t see Rafa sticking around after the summer if we don’t get some serious investment. On that note, the chances of AS buying the club are very slim, as she is more interested in spending 1B on Liverpool dye to their previous history, than wasting 400m on a club that she may consider as bridesmaids when it comes to winning, yes we have one of the best stadiums in the country, some of the best fans in the world & undoubtedly one of the best managers around but we’re not situated in the London or Midlands area, which is where foreign investors are willing to spend money it seems.

    My fear is, we could well be stuck with Ashley for a long time or if the HRMC decide they want a hefty sum off Ashley, he may well put us into administration if it’s not worth him paying what’s owed, which could leave us in a situation similar to Rangers, bottom of the bottom league, which to me would be the end of the club for sure.

    So not all roads lead to Rome, not this one anyways..

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    He won`t get anywhere near £380m when we need another £80m or so to be spent on new players

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      So says the mathematical whizz known as MMM

  • Mark Spark

    lol.Thanks for clearing up a question i have been asking.Why would The Parasite sell?the answer,cause he sez he will

  • steve pearce

    The fat stinking bag of southern pus has got ideas above his station. Apparently he now wishes to start accumulating more up market brands and plans to use the income from our sale to fund this. As a businessman this plan was fomented some years ago and the recruitment of Rafa was the final straw. He let us have the minimum funds to stay in the top ten until January when the sale will be finalised and the new owner’s coffers shall fund the much needed strikers and effective number 10. As for factors – why did Elizabeth Arden? Because Max Factor…..

    • Mark Spark

      fair enough.its a big change for him,and Im quite surprised,hes made his money with a very particular business model.
      I do hope he sells,its just Ive got a horrible feeling we are stuck with him

      • Danimal

        Isn’t he just continuing to buy underperforming brands and drag them down market to his level?

        • Mark Spark

          yep,that was the business model i was talking about,but hey,Steve Pearce has received information……

    • Guest 2

      Rafa – the final straw? LOL, never heard him called that before.

      I sincerely hope fatty had such a plan nonetheless and slings his hook, but your conspiracies reach new levels every time you comment.

      • steve pearce

        No insult intended but The Owner is busy moving up market and is exanding his interests. They’re not conspiracies but based on information I’ve received.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Steve you don’t appear to be able to compute any information you receive.

  • Lord

    The last point is the most relevant. Anyone wanting to buy a PL club with a large fanbase, large stadium & potential to be the next Man City has got a very limited market to aim for.

    And here’s where price paid does not necessarily = sensible value.

    A bit like trying to buy a house on a prestigious road where no-one wants to move out.

  • Guest 2

    David – we had it once before with Hall & Shepherd in a lesser way. Some ‘fans’ now believe they ruined the club!

    Ironic really when mentioning LFC ground, to be paid off in 5 years when ours was apparently (according to some) going to bankrupt us.

    We had fantastic football with KK – and some fans moaned we didn’t ‘win anything’.

    SBR has godly status now – yet some fans wanted him out.

    Ashley is Ashley and his misdeeds well known. Yet still some fans believe he’s been a saviour we should be grateful for.

    Me? I’ll take an obscenely rich Arab group willing to lavish City type money on us, and an exciting team, any day of the week. The world has turned and the only way to win success or anything close to it is to buy it.

    Point being – no matter what, fans or segments of us, will never be bloody happy.

    • HappyToons

      ‘ I’ll take an obscenely rich Arab group willing to lavish City type money on us, and an exciting team, any day of the week. The world has turned and the only way to win success or anything close to it is to buy it.’

      Our support couldn’t cope with regular success, we’d be better off doing a Leicester City. It is the eternal hope that keeps folk going. We’d be like Man City but worse, with empty seats except for a top Champions League game.

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Ashley has no plan to sell his only thought is to maximise his profits on his ‘product’. Expect little or no investment if we look relatively safe from relegation! Having supported the club for 50 years I like to think I’m not too cynical but a realist!

    • X,WHY,Y MAN.

      Well I hope your are wrong in the long run but tend to agree with you based on what has gone before.
      Ashley is a big time “PSY-OP” man who has put these takeover stories out in the past to further his agenda.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    When full backs are going for fifty million and forwards for one hundred and fifty million if a prospective buyer can not afford four hundred million it’s a waste of time.
    Only Ashley is willing to put money into the club no one else. Until some one else comes along to buy us support the club. Four hundred million is petty cash to run a club these days it’s a billion to buy Liverpool so wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Rich Lawson

    For a club with NUFC’S potentional £400mil’ is just petty cash to the arabian and chinese boys.If the’re not buying at that price Ashley either does’nt want to sell really or there is something we are not being told which puts off purchasers ?

  • Mark Spark

    I would think any really rich possible buyers would only be looking at Spurs or Liverpool.they already have massive brand awareness overseas,im afraid to money people,52,000 fans in the stadium and the best fans anywhere has little financial value to them compared to that

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Until there is something concrete that comes out it is all just conjecture at this stage and a “Pipe Dream” around Walker is a Tenner Deal !