After weeks of fevered anticipation, Monday night saw progress on the Newcastle United takeover.

News was leaked (see below) that Amanda Staveley had made a formal offer for the club.

After that new broke, there has then followed much coverage (read below) of what has allegedly happened and what the exact offer is.

As well as a predictable difference between the two sides when it comes to valuation in these opening exchanges (who would ever give their best offer first…?), there has also been a number of other issues, with chief amongst those, an insistence on a relegation clause from Amanda Staveley’s side.

Keith Downie of Sky Sports:

“Negotiations for the sale of NUFC continue…

“With the buyers’ request for compensation if relegated expected to be a major sticking point.”

Various other media have also reported on the existence of such a clause and surely no surprise that this would be the case.

I have already seen some Newcastle fans arguing either way, with some saying that if Amanda Staveley and her backers want to buy the club then risk of relegation comes as part of any deal.

Well it does – but if you are buying a club midway through a season then if there is a realistic chance of relegation then surely it has to be factored into the deal somewhere, whether it is knocking money off the actual sale price, or a relegation compensation clause as Sky Sports are indicating.

Which to me, simply brings us back to the timing of Mike Ashley announcing the club up for sale on 16 October 2017.

Surely it would have made sense for everybody, that if Ashley seriously intended to sell the club this year with the minimum of problems, it should have been put up for sale six months earlier…24 April 2017 to be precise.

That night saw Newcastle United beat Preston at St James Park to ensure automatic promotion back to the Premier League.

Mike Ashley should have then instantly on the final whistle got his mates from Sky Sports to put up the for sale notices right then.

At that point there was still nine and a half weeks until the summer transfer window would open and indeed four and a half months until the window would shut at the end of August.

Plenty of time prospective new owners to come forward, do due diligence, put in an offer, negotiate, reach agreement, buy the club, then agree a plan with Rafa Benitez on how to attack the new season.

At that stage a relegation clause wouldn’t even be talked about, you are buying a football club and knowing exactly what you are getting, with your own chance to mould it how you see fit ahead of the next season.

People might say ‘Well new owners would have the January transfer window to assist Rafa’ but the day the transfer window opens, Newcastle play their 22 Premier League match of the season and by the time the window closes there are only 13 games still remaining. Very little time if you are struggling to bring in and settle new players to get them performing at their best.

I have always wondered about the timing of Mike Ashley putting Newcastle United up for sale over two months into the season and I can’t help thinking that like a lot of things he does, it is impulsive and a snap decision made.

Amanda Staveley turned up at that Liverpool match on 1 October and at the final whistle Newcastle had 10 points after seven matches, having won three and drawn one of their last five games.

So did Mike Ashley think this is the ideal time to get a quick deal done at the best possible price, a manager like Rafa Benitez in place and more importantly the team suggesting it would be  nowhere near relegation struggles.

A day after Newcastle got a draw and played very well at Southampton, the formal for sale signs went up. Plus the upcoming games were against Crystal Palace, Burnley and Bournemouth – giving at least a few weeks grace where extra points and confidence could be added to impress potential buyers, before a tougher looking schedule presented itself.

From everything we have ever been told about Mike Ashley (parking tanks on the lawn if  he wants a deal done etc etc) he drives a very hard bargain.

With three defeats in a row now and a difficult fixture list ahead, you just hope that he hasn’t come up with a massive over valuation sparked by the early points total this season and will refuse to budge on that.

It is the same with everything you want to sell, a football club is worth what somebody will pay for it.

Overall, I do believe that Ashley is interested in selling the club but then if that is the case, you do have to ask why he didn’t put it up for sale in April when both parties would know where they stood in the close season.

The Mag – Earlier today (Tuesday 21 November):

Monday night brought breaking news of an Amanda Staveley bid for Newcastle United, reported to be ‘in the region of £300m’.

Great news for Newcastle fans that there has been proved to be substance in reported interest in buying the club and various media, including the Press Association, confirmed last night that the club had indeed accepted that a bid had been received.

Mike Ashley was reported to be furious that the bid was claimed to be around £300m, with The Mail (see below) and others revealing that the bid was nowhere near that figure, with also claims of the bid including ‘relegation clauses’.

Tuesday morning has seen The Times (see below) report that Mike Ashley was also ‘disappointed’ that news of any bid had been made public at all.

Very amusing to see such a manipulator/user of the media seeing somebody do the same to him.

It turns out the Amanda Staveley bid was put in last week and quite clearly it is her camp leaking news of the offer, using the media to put the pressure on Mike Ashley.

Nobody wants to see Newcastle United lose any game but the fact the Magpies have won only one of their last seven games certainly doesn’t strengthen Ashley’s hand when bargaining on the price/terms of any deal. if Newcastle had six or seven more points towards Premier League safety from these past two months of football, then the NUFC owner would be sitting pretty.

The Times also say that their sources claim the Staveley offer is ‘take it or leave it’ and with the two sides seemingly so far apart, then to some Newcastle supporters the situation might look hopeless.

However, it is not unusual in any type of business, especially where the two sides are using the media to get their respective messages out, to hear such bluster when the opening shots are being fired in a battle to get the best deal possible.

If the two parties (or indeed a third party joins the bidding) then no reason why a deal can’t be reached, if both sides are committed to a sale/purchase of the club.

The Times – Tuesday 21 November 2017:

‘Sources close to the negotiations suggest that the offer, which was made at the end of last week, is “take it or leave it”, although it remains to be seen whether this is the case.

As of last night, Staveley, 44, was awaiting a response from Ashley’s representatives, who are said to be disappointed that details of the bid have been made public.’

The Mail – Monday 20 November 2017:

‘Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners have moved closer to a takeover of Newcastle United after making an opening offer – but Mike Ashley is set to reject the approach.

The Middle East and Chinese investment fund – fronted by the Yorkshire businesswoman – have been working through the due diligence process since last month and have now tabled an initial bid.

However, Sportsmail understands that Magpies owner Ashley was furious at reports which emerged on Monday night suggesting the figure was in the region of £300million.

Sources close to the club insist it is way lower than that and Staveley will need to return with an improved offer if there is to be progress. It is thought the deal is complicated by clauses in the event of relegation.

Ashley still wants to sell the club but will do so on his terms, which could include an advertising package for Sports Direct.

If a takeover is completed – and sources close to the deal are ‘confident’ it will be – then we understand Staveley, 44, will be installed as the new head of the club.

Negotiations will now continue but hopes of a deal being completed by Christmas have rescinded given the disparity in valuation.’

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  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Flawed logic Dean, “Plenty of time prospective new owners to come forward, do due diligence, put in an offer, negotiate, reach agreement, buy the club, then agree a plan with Rafa Benitez on how to attack the new season.”

    OK, May 2017, he places the advert “football club for sale”, interested parties take around 3 months to flesh out, 3 months of DD and even then, no agreement on price?

    • HTL

      by your logic working on your time scale, after the club being put up for sale a month ago it will take 6 months to find a buyer and for DD to take place, so that takes us to march without an agreement on price. we are already at that stage after a month.
      IMHO MS is trying to ensure that she is buying a football club in the premiership and not the championship, If no guarantees can be given and she is willing to take that gamble, that will obviously be reflected in the price she is willing to pay. (unless the sale is completed by Christmas and she can make investment in the team to increase the chances of remaining in the premiership)

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        My logic is that the club was being readied for sale last season and Mike’s interviews were about flushing potential buyers out. I don’t think Staveley’s involvement started at the Liverpool game, I suspect we were already months in.

        • HTL

          That could be a distinct possibility, and the interviews/press statements could of been to find other interested parties and try and create a bidding war.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’d go a little further than distinct possibility, it’s the most logical explanation.

          • Damon Horner

            Agree 100%, Amanda Staveley being there wasn’t an unannounced surprise, why would it be? cost her a lot of money in travel and accommodation on a whim, do that for every potential deal would be crazy. It would also make sense why Ashley, assuming he did, changed the available budget in the window if he felt something was in the pipeline to change the controller of said budget.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Finally, it also explains why Rafa was seemingly comfortable with it.

  • Rich Lawson

    ”Sources close to the negotiations” ! B######s,surely only a handful of people really know what’s going on and Staveley wouldn’t want any other prospective bidders to know the finer details of her bid,would she ?

    • Guest 2

      Bishop and Barnes at work.

  • Mrkgw

    I hope thst this comes good in order to rid us of Ashley. I would guess also, that Amanda Staveley will be an excellent representative and ambassador in years to come however, as we all know, Ashley wont give St James away on the cheap. More ups and downs to come yet it would seem.

  • Paul Patterson

    Aside to this being true or not, it’s a smack in the face to Ashley in that cutting corners for sake of a few million has this as the result. One decent striker for 20m would’ve had this club sold by now. But then again, he doesn’t learn . .

    • TheNutJob

      he doesn`t care, fans can grasp the point

    • Dave Pattinson

      Agreed mate! Totally short-sightedness by The Fat One, but sadly he’s a gambler as we have all sadly learned with almost every transfer window.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      It’s that easy, Everton, Palace, West Ham, West Brom, Stoke, Southampton etc don’t want one of those.

  • TheNutJob

    he won`t sell under those conditions & that`ll be the end of it unless the buyers compromise.
    you don`t get warrantys with football clubs

  • Peaky Magpie

    Nowt will happen until the end of the season,if then.

  • Peaky Magpie

    This whole saga will end up been like a nasty,bitter,long drawn and draining divorce !

  • TheFatController

    PCP know there won’t be any relegation clauses, they’re just going to react to the objections with ‘drop your demands, and price, and let us in then, because we need to control the January window if we want to ensure we remain in the PL’

    Of course they are going to use the fact that we may be relegated to put Ashleyon the back foot.

    When put up for sale, his lawyer talked about buyers ‘not bidding low as PL clubs with 125 years heritage don’t grow on trees’

    So obviously PCP are saying ‘you’ve not invested enough in the product to make PL status a certainty come next season – it’s slightly shop soiled, not the prime heritage PL club you claim it is’

    PCP Are negotiating down against the claims the seller is making to negotiate up …

    • Coble’s Return

      Spot on. Ashley knows also that relegation is as big a risk for him if he doesn’t sell as it is for PCP if he does. I don’t think that there will be clause either, but the risk must be reflected in the price.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Round 1.
    the Great Fat One gives the Blonde the Bums Rush & at 300 million they are taking the P1 $$

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Sky are saying that the £300m is to be paid over five years hope it’s not true as that does not bode well for the future if they cannot even buy the club out right. Also some confidence they have in Rafa if they think we might get relegated. Even if we did god forbid where is these new owners confidence in getting back up. All seems to be done on the cheap to me .

    • Paul Patterson

      That actually sounds sensible to me.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        I think most fans on this site are hoping for £50m pound plus signings not an outfit buying the club on tick can you imagine the former regime agreeing for Ashley to pay over five years.

        • TheFatController

          I suspect the ‘tick’ idea is Ashley’s to make buying the club easier, more attractive. He knows only sheikhs and oligarchs have the cash ready to bid £400m effortlessly.

          Staveley will counter by offering cash up front for £300m or so. Again, standard negotiating inducement tactics from both sides to get price closer to where they want it …

    • TheFatController

      Why would AS talk confidently about staying up when trying to negotiate a good price for the club?

      Of course they are going to use everything they can to devalue the club.

      By paying over 5 years they can spend more on players sooner.

      Negotiation isn’t rocket science – they want to make their money work hard on the pitch, not in Ashley’s back pocket. Good grief.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        I think that’s the point, Ashley is not going to accept a low price on the basis the new owners will not be as good, he surely isn’t going to accept a low price in installments. I don’t think anyone would offer installments over 5 years and no way MA will accept that, he may as well just carry on running things himself.

        If they are unable to pay £300m in one go, they are not going to be much good owning this football club.

    • Damon Horner

      If they can recover some cost if the worst happens then a lot of people will try that, I don’t think it’s a reflection in the faith they have in Rafa,

    • Guest 2

      You would know, considering how much you adore Fatty and his cheapness.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Looking forward to one hundred million pound signings and us winning the treble cannot wait if not I think the chant is Amanda out you posh bird from London get out of our club.

        • Guest 2

          Considering you’ve supported everything Ashley has done, then I think it’s time you wound your neck in, shut up, and f’ed off.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            There is no point in Amanda and co taking over if they cannot better fifth place as that’s what we are capable of under Ashley and Pardew achieved one year. We want top four minimum under this new regime
            and that will take a lot of money so I await with interest the big signings
            perhaps Messi could be the first such is the joy of the mag website.

          • Guest 2

            Don’t talk utter pap! If we were capable of a regular 5th place finish instead of two relegations, 3 near misses and lower table anonymity then fatso would have delivered. He got lucky, once, and then sold the players responsible and the rest is a sad indictment of his ownership.

    • hetonmag

      I find it really difficult to believe you have an affinity with the club when you come out with the amount of rubbish you keep spouting.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Sky sports news not me keep on having a go at Ashley but when he is gone you will have some one else to hate very sad

  • Wor Lass

    One thing I keep coming back to in considering all of the ramifications of this drama is that Ashley seems to me to be completely fed up with the club. He`s become bored by it all and wants out. What`s happening now is the horse-trading (not the Hoss, unfortunately). Both sides want the best possible deal for themselves and it looks like this is the only one that`s going to be on offer (probably always was) so Mike has to be careful. It`s a bit of a buyers` market and he isn`t in a real position of strength. He is perverse, though, and very stubborn and impulsive so anything`s possible but my opinion is that he`ll eventually settle and move on. I certainly hope so!

  • Peaky Magpie

    Custody battle negotiations over Penfold next,every other weekend a stopover at Grannies,Sunday lunch at Macdonalds etc…..

  • HarryHype59

    The Chronicle ( I know) mentions PCP want the relegation clause in case points are deducted arising from any HMRC sanctions!

    • Mal

      They certainly will. I don’t think Ashley is in as strong a position as he is making out – and Stavely knows it.

  • Mal

    I can’t really see the point on speculating what might have happened if Ashley had put the club up for sale 7 months ago. We are where we are.
    I think it’s likely that Stavely is the only game in town and Ashley is going to have to accept that. She’s also no pushover and will drive a hard bargain (pity she isn’t our Brexit negotiator).In the end, even at £300 million this would still be a profit for Ashley and he might have to recognise that this is as good as it’s going to get. If he doesn’t sell we will almost certainly lose our world class manager and he will be holding a depreciating asset. Fingers crossed they agree a deal.