The prospect of Mike Ashley no longer being the owner of Newcastle United is tantalising.

After ten long years of a regime that has specialised in mediocrity, it could really be about to end. We hope. It’s all about knowing what to believe at the moment. If it come to pass I defy anyone not to run through town like a kid on Christmas morning.

The chances of the takeover happening are a massive distraction, certainly after the reports came through that PCP Capital Partners had lodged an actual bid. It feels a bit weird being a supporter amid all of this speculation, claim and counter claim. Various journalists all with a different narrative.

Does anyone know what is going on? Can there be a deal? Can they offer enough cash to entice Ashley to finally call it a day?

There are sceptics but it does seem that the Sports Direct supremo wants to sell the club after a decade of torment. Ashley is at a fork in the road. He can stay at the helm and keep trying to run NUFC on the cheap, which only gets us so far. The alternative is to accept an offer from PCP and give someone else a crack at making a success of the place. It’s high time for a change.

At the time of writing – and news really could break at any moment – it seems Amanda Staveley has offered Ashley just short of £300 million. That would give him a smallish profit, but he’s rejected the deal. Relegation clauses seemingly not to his liking. If Staveley’s group really has the level of wealth that’s been reported then they should have no bother agreeing a fee to satisfy Ashley’s desire. The ball is back in her court.

How about £300million up front and a further £30million in instalments, with no clauses. The new owner will have to be saddled with any risk of demotion. That would surely be enough to get a deal done. There are claims he wants £350m as a minimum, so they may have to up the offer even more.

Ashley’s total outlay since 2007 is claimed to be £260million, so the asking price being put about would yield him a decent profit, right? Is he being greedy? Yes.

My gut feeling is he’d like to do a deal but he may not budge too far on the asking price. Just like the sale of a house or a car, the opening offers always get rebuffed.

But does he really want to press on when he said himself he has to ‘compete with countries’, in that now infamous Sky Sports interview over the summer.

The next moves by PCP are likely to be decisive. A better offer will probably come in and then we’ll have a clearer idea if we’re rid of Mike. Let’s face it, there will be despondency if it all falls through. Hopes have been raised among the fans, even the doom-mongers will secretly be on tenterhooks. Any rejection of what the fans see as an excellent deal could even lead to the days of protest coming back, especially if a rejection and withdrawal of the club from sale destabilises Benitez.

And yet do we really know who PCP are? It’s referred to as an investment vehicle for middle eastern financiers but there is no real clarity as to who the money men are. We just see Staveley’s face as the person fronting the whole thing.

The takeover may not transform it overnight. There would still be a lot of work to do even from that point forwards, though fresh investment would be a massive boost for everyone.

We wait. Wait and see what the next twist will be. At some point I might just think about the football.

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  • Coble’s Return

    Nothing new here, but the word of caution about PCP may be worthy. We have no idea exactly who is involved in this bid, nor what their intentions will be should the sale go through. The least we can hope for is that new owners will present a vision for the club which matches our own in terms of effort, determination, and dignity both on and off the pitch. I take some comfort from Staveley’s reported past interest in Liverpool and presume therefore that she and those she represents are serious about a long term strategy for success. Regardless, we’ll take our chances with some certainty that things can not be much worse.

  • Rich Lawson

    Job needs to be done in the next two weeks before all parties concerned take their Xmas holidays and leave the rest of us in limbo ?

  • TheFatController

    It’s in both parties interests to get the deal done quick. However, I would think the results against watford and wba may have to come through before PCP make a further offer if they are basing that offer on likelihood of PL safety.

    But PCP will only pay what it is worth, not what Ashley wants. Very few businessmen pay over the odds for anything. They’ll know what their upper limit is, and the job of the negotiator is to come in as far below that as possible.

    So they may have many billions each, but that won’t manifest into ‘pay what Ashley wants to make sure we get it’ because none of their business is ever conducted with ‘overpaying to get it quicker’ mentality.

    Yes, we want them to throw £350m at Ashley, but it’s not our money. Clearly PCP think it’s not worth anywhere near £400m as otherwise they’d pay it. Or someone else would.

    If it stays at £350m and they can’t see value in that (bear in mind our profits currently are minimal so where’s the return? Then factor in the HMRC investigation) they’ll buy another club. Maybe follow the Wolves model for example.

    They aren’t obligated to buy the club and could easily go back to making bids for the likes of Liverpool etc. Ashley will know that better than anyone. It’s worse for him than PCP if they walk away…

    • Pelican

      Six paragraphs of stating the painfully obvious. Well done.

      • TheFatController

        If it’s obvious, why do I see a lot of comments on this site suggesting the reason they haven’t paid Ashley yet is because they don’t have the backing.

        Why do I see ‘if they were serious they’d pay £350m’?

        Maybe it’s obvious to you, but my point is to those that blame PCP for not paying what Ashley wants so that we can be put out of our misery.

        Your mistake is thinking that PCP’s likely view is obvious to everyone because it’s obvious to you. It’s clear that some are angry at PCP for not throwing stupid money at Ashley..

        Lose the arrogance, you’re likely a bit tinpot.

  • Pelican

    Did I really just read under another article that a poster believes Ashley is losing £7 million a year interest on his loan to Newcastle—with that claim being used to compliment Ashley. Somebody is certainly confused. Ashley is SAVING himself interest, so rather that losing the proposed (dodging sounding math) £7 million, he is gaining it, minus whatever interest he would have made had that money been kept in the bank. Considering that PL clubs are now increasing in value, the inflation of putting money into Newcastle as opposed to keeping it in a bank, would mean Ashley could only lose the differential by his own design.

    You know, somebody, someday is going to come up with something ambitious that Ashley did for NUFC, that’ll be the day. (Hiring Benitez to get the club out of the sinking-sand and giving him diddly squat to spend wasn’t it)

    • TheFatController

      Yes, Rafa’s apoojnment wasn’t ambitious, it is filed under the many ‘knee jerk’ decisions that are separate from the ‘bare minimum’ decisions…

      • Pelican

        Benitez has been at the club coming up 2 years, and he is sill in the minus net-spend. Very ambitious of Ashley… it is all starting to make sense as to why he hired Benitez… to take the club to the very top. (Without anything to spend being only a minor detail)

      • Pelican

        TheFatController Monkseaton Magpies • a day ago
        “You make a fantastic argument for Ashley taking £300m. So thanks.

        PCP are saying they’ll pick up that debt that is costing ‘Mike’ £7m a year in lost interest. Why burden himself a minute longer – it’s clearly losing him money …?”

        How is Ashley losing £7m a year in lost interest? He is *gaining* £7m a year by not having to pay interest.

        • TheFatController

          Economic theory of opportunity cost applies. (The loss of alternatives when one alternative is taken)

          Ashley covers circa £100m in loans with cash injection.

          Where did he take the cash from? Somewhere that pays interest almost certainly.

          So how is he losing £7m a year? by taking £100m out of an interest paying account to put into the club and gaining no interest.

          Not rocket science I think you’ll, now enlightened, agree ?

          • Pelican

            “So how is he losing £7m a year? by taking £100m out of an interest paying account to put into the club and gaining no interest.”

            I will paste the part of my original comment which applies to Ashley keeping his loan in a bank instead of putting it into NUFC.

            “Ashley is SAVING himself interest, so rather than losing the proposed (dodging sounding math) £7 million, he is gaining it, minus whatever interest he would have made had that money been kept in the bank. Considering that PL clubs are now increasing in value, the inflation of putting money into Newcastle as opposed to keeping it in a bank, would mean Ashley could only lose the differential by his own design.”

            You seem to be confused that had Ashley kept his money in the bank instead of giving an interest loan to a business he owns, that he would be £7 million better off. You do see where this falls down, right?

          • TheFatController

            My point you pulled from two days ago out wasn’t that Ashley was out of pocket £7m, it was that MM said he was doing the club a serivice and suffering as a result.

            Hence I said ‘if it’s that bad, let PCP pick up the debt and he can run off with a small profit’

            I was quoting MM.

            Finally, I stand by the point that it is losing him £7m, but he can reclaim that with what he perceives is unpaid value of ground advertising and profit on the sale. But as I am convinced he’d have taken the free advertising without the interest free loan anyway, in his head he won’t get the £7m pa back until her gets £350m from a sale …

          • Pelican

            You can stand by your point all you wish. It does not mean Ashley is losing £7 million per year. You are looking at it wrong.

          • TheFatController

            No, I get your point, which I take to be that because he owns the company he’s saving himself £7m so the lost interest balances out the £7m to zero.

            I merely point out the first rule of investments, it’s not a profit til you take it. The business only gives him the £7m back if the profit on a sale covers it.

            So, were he to sell for £260m, say, he’d be equal on what he paid for it, out of pocket on interest lost, but in pocket on free stadium advertising

  • Steven05

    I had hoped the headline of this article was going to be along the lines of what I’ve been saying for years. For obvious reasons, nearly every conversation about Newcastle United centres around Ashley. I understand why, I just miss it being about football stuff