Marseille are a great example of a massive club that had fallen on hard times and was eventually bought out relatively recently.

Not difficult to see similarities between Newcastle United and the French club, both with massive support but underperforming on and off the pitch.

Obviously the extra cash involved in the Premier League is always going to make a club such as Newcastle United more lucrative than your average Ligue 1 club, with the league/TV money generated in France a relative pittance for most clubs compared to the English top tier.

After a lengthy period of speculation, rumours, negotiations, claim and counter-claim, Frank McCourt announced in August 2016 that a deal had been agreed to buy Marseille, however, it was some two months later when the takeover was completed in October.

The previous season (2015/16) had seen Marseille skirt with relegation danger before eventually finishing 13th.

With the current owners unwilling/unable to invest much in team strengthening and with the uncertainty brought on by takeover talk/expectation, and negotiations dragging on, it was feared relegation would be a very real possibility – despite the impending takeover.

Ambitious players, lack of ambition and minimal investment had led to Imbula, Thauvin and Payet leaving in 2015/16, with the remaining star names of Batshuayi, Mendy, Lemina, and N’Koudou then following them that summer (2016). Some £120m banked across the three transfer windows and very little spent.

Whether the prospective new owner (Frank McCourt) was involved or not, the current owners in summer 2016 tried to ensure disaster (relegation trouble) didn’t strike to jeopardise the sale of Marseille.

With no significant cash to spend, they made a number of short-term agreements to help try and get the team through this difficult period.

The summer 2016 window seeing Bafetimbi Gomis arrive on loan from Swansea, Clinton M’Jie from Tottenham on loan, plus Florian Thauvin on loan with possibility of it being made permanent.

Marseille committing to serious wages (for a French club) for the three Premier League players but with the expectation that Frank McCourt would shortly complete the club takeover and take over those wages as well.

The transfers proved inspired, Marseille recovered from 13th the previous season to finish 5th, the three loan players scoring a massive 39 of the 57 league goals scored in that 2016/17 season.

With the new owners having a commitment to invest after taking over, they kept to their word and since they took over it has been a case of investing in the team rather than selling the best assets.

January 2017 saw some £35m spent on Sanson and Dmitri Payet, then another £55m or so net spending in summer 2017, which included paying Newcastle for Florian Thauvin’s permanent deal.

As we speak, Marseille and currently second in Ligue 1 behind PSG and making rapid strides towards taking them back to where the fans believe they should be.

These past two transfer windows under the new owners have seen Marseille spend around as much as the previous nine or ten transfer windows.

Coming back to Newcastle United and the potential takeover. Tuesday night’s rescued point at West Brom was very welcome but the fact remains that Newcastle are surely set to be one of maybe eight or so clubs trying to avoid relegation.

If a takeover is going to take some time, then it is vital that everything is done in the meantime to try and make sure there is no danger of going down.

With only an £11.5m net spend in the summer, Mike Ashley sent a very strong message suggesting he had no intention of allowing the necessary transfer spend to make sure of safety.

Already strong rumours indicate that if he is still in charge it will be a similar story in January.

Maybe Newcastle need to invest heavily in better quality players via loan deals and or loan with a view to buy, in January, just as Marseille did 18 months ago.

There is no guarantee of staying up just because you bring in better quality players but if you don’t bring them in, then it pretty much guarantees you are gambling with possible relegation.

Let’s hope everybody is pulling together, including Mike Ashley and any potential buyer, to ensure we don’t have any relegation issues affecting this (hopefully) impending takeover of Newcastle United.

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  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    McCourt bought Marseille from the Louis-Dreyfus’ for €45 million as opposed to the £350 million+ fatty is asking for.

    • Guest 2

      Pretty sure Marseille aren’t guaranteed a minimum 100 million from tv alone either!

      • HarryHype59

        Neither are NUFC if they get relegated again!

    • HarryHype59

      That shows how over priced NUFC are. He could be selling the club for under £100m if another relegation occurs!

  • nufcslf

    The last few performances and results…and still a stuffing to come on Saturday…all point to a relegation season. Not too sure what the hold up on a sale is. Fatty’s none spending from one window to the other is not going to change, only he has actually said it this time. Without investment to this current squad Ashley’s ownership makes the whole club pointless. Find it hard to believe even he wants or is willing to put up with the abuse that will be hurled at him if he stay’s, plain stupid. Hoping something is in the works, so all comments can be about the football on the pitch for a change.

    • HarryHype59

      It has stalled as even at £300m, the club is over priced as its main income source is not guaranteed !

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    What Takeover ?

  • Arty Hume

    its time Mash put his big boy pants on and at lease for now take an interest in the welfare of the club, if he does not relegation is a distinct possibility. If we are relegated the club is worth less than he paid for it, the fans will leave in droves because they now know the reality of his mismanagement ( bit like the E.U come to think of it ;) ) and I think Rafa will leave too. Now that is a bleak prospect! I believe a take it or leave it offer this weekend after we play Chelsea will determine the fate of our great club. Personally I would go into the negotiation room with an egg timer, ask them what they are prepared to accept with respect to the position of the club in the league and strength of the squad due to lack of investment, hear their side of the story and then tell them £300m take it or leave it. Place the egg timer on the table and state the deal is on the table until until the timer runs out its a full and final offer. Thats reputedly £20m more than the previous bid, which could buy a decent player so seems reasonable to me. At this time our club is like a stock on the FTSE its fluctuating and with good management ( ownership ) it can gain in value, but with bad management ( ownership ) it will crash and loss value. It is said in the financial world ” You never catch a falling knife ” after another few defeats our club will become a falling knife released by Mash.

    • Clarko

      Relegation should be a “distinct possibility”, we’re a newly promoted club, relegation is a “distinct possibility” for every club outside of the top six.

      • Wor Lass

        You been reading my posts again? oooh, creepy!

        • Clarko



      • Arty Hume

        Not necessarily so there are known to be three leagues withing the premiership, top middle and bottom. Its the lower tier which is most at risk, and my comment should be noted in context with the lack of investment over the last few years and coupled with the lies that were told over funds available. U believe we are on the same page though ;)

        • Clarko

          No, there is no “middle” of the table anymore, name them? Name the teams that are guaranteed to finished between 7th and 12th.

          There hasn’t been a lack of investment over the “last few years”, in 17/18 Newcastle have spent €43.20m, in 16/17 Newcastle spent €63.75m and in 15/16 Newcastle spent €108.26m, that includes a relegation, there has been significant investment in the team.

          What “lies” were we told over the funds? Did Ashley state a set amount of money? I don’t think he did.

  • molend

    Despite our differences on detail, I think most people here would agree on two things: a) as a whole, this squad isn’t PL quality; b) Rafa seems to have an emotional commitment to us. But he’s not the sheet-metal worker’s son from Gosforth who supported us as a lad, so we can’t expect one of the best coaches in the world to hang around much longer if nowt changes. Personally, I can’t see why Ashley would want to sell at all, although I suppose a barrowload of cash might tempt him. I know there are some who claim he’s not making anything out of the club, but, invoking ‘the psychology of the individual’, I doubt if he’d still be around unless he was making a killing.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    The notable difference between us and Marseille is they probably had sensible people looking into the interests of the club.
    We have a bunch of cowboys headed by fat idiot in jeans carrying a plastic bag along with an assortment of goons, Sycophants, Hangers on, And three card trick merchants who do nothing but gamble with the clubs future !

    When January swings around you can bet your bottom poond coin that they will be up to their old tricks again.
    They will be slow to act, Quibbling over prices, Getting gazumped by rival clubs hijacking their bids at the 11th hour, Offering way below the market value for players.
    To top matters off they will probably sell Lascelles on Deadline Day for a good price and trouser the money as a parting gift from Fatty Arbuckle then the take over will be complete on the 1st of February 2018.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Transfer deadline day,Groundhog Day???

      • Rich Lawson

        Bill Murray as surprise new manager !!

        • Kneebotherm8

          He couldn’t do a lot worse than McLaren or Carver did.

  • TheFatController

    The problem we have is that, given Ashley wants to sell the club at its value as a PL club, Staveley may wait til later in the season to make any further bid.

    I say this because she reportedly wanted a relegation clause included. That would protect any investment of, say, £350-380m if she paid Ashley’s valuation.

    However, if Ashley insists on £350m without the clause, why would she pay that? If we stay up, it’s not worth more than £350m still, the maximum value of the club at PL status.

    So she may as well let Ashley carry the risk of relegation, rather than carrying it herself, and hold back on a bid.

    If Ashley says it’s not for sale later in the season, she won’t feel she missed out because it’s clear she doesn’t want to pay anything like £350m for it currently. There’ll be other clubs.

    • Geordie-7676

      People like stavekly dont buy a club because of its current true value, they buy it because of the potential returns and future value post-investment.

      Look at City… much were they worth pre-Mansour… much are they worth now?

    • Paul Patterson

      This club is worth around £300m now but £150 if relegated. Ashley should think about that.

      • S.G.M.

        Equally if the club remains in the P.L. the price goes up to£400m. dose she or doesn’t she?

        • robbersdog

          She certainly looks like she does.

      • HarryHype59

        Less than that, Lerner sold Villa for £60m after relegation!

  • Down Under Mag

    Whether or not a takeover is done before January, it is safe to say that we need some injection of quality to hope to stay up no matter what. If Ashley is still in charge then we are not going to get that but hopefully he sees the logic in at least sanctioning some big money loan deals until the end of the season to keep us up and protect his investment. My main worry is Ashley doing his usual “gamble” on there being three worse teams than us and just see out the campaign without spending another penny. The worry though is that while the likes of West Ham, Swansea, Palace and Everton all could continue to struggle no matter who is in charge, it would be debatable that Rafa would be willing to continue to struggle without any investment and the fact is he is likely to walk out on us in January should there be no further investment to help his cause. That will be a huge dent to our survival chances as no doubt Ashley will try and appoint some has-been cheap ‘geezer’ off the scrap heap to see us through and once we start on that slippery slope to a relegation scrap it will be difficult to get out of the rut…especially with the players we have on show.

  • Paul Patterson

    I’ve never advocated Ashley going out and spending £100m but spending nowt is unforgivable.

  • Coble’s Return

    Relegation is a strong possibility and almost a probability without investment in January, regardless of who owns the club and regardless of whether Rafa sees the season out. Ashley must surely know that if we go down again, we are stuffed – I am talking Mackems, Portsmouth, Leeds etc etc – stuffed! He can not risk that, whether he believes that a sale is possible or not. He will of course try to recover any additional investment from a buyer, but the best outcome for all (Ashley included) must be the conclusion of a sale within the nest few weeks.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    What happens here is that during takeover negotiations, trading budgets are agreed by all parties, i.e. if the takeover does not go ahead, Mike Ashley does not end up with a load of players he never wanted or can afford & on the other hand, the new buyers have playing assets that they & their manager are happy with.

    Effectively, it’s business as usual unless the takeover does get completed and the new owners want to make a huge statement – in this case, that is very unlikely.

  • Albert Stubbins

    Bafetemi gomis could single handedly undo all the good work to keep them in division. Makes mitro look like big AL.