I was playing football last night and in the pub afterwards, the talk yet again turned to Amanda Staveley and the proposed buyout of Newcastle United.
There were around a dozen of us there, all Newcastle fans, apart from a solitary Swindon supporter who ended up in civilisation after meeting a Geordie lass on holiday many years ago.
All 12 of us, including the Swindon fan, were agreed on one thing, that Newcastle United will only have the chance of potentially not being a disaster club, once Mike Ashley has left.
However, when it comes to the Newcastle takeover and why it hasn’t happened, there are all kinds of viewpoints.
The same when it comes to what would happen after any ownership change.
I was pretty surprised when somebody said’ Why doesn’t Amanda Staveley just pay the extra £50m and get the Newcastle takeover done?’, especially when the majority agreed with him.
With football these days, it is easy just to think of it as Monopoly money, not really bearing any relation to how we normally see cash in other walks of life.
Neymar cost PSG over £200m and his five year deal will see even more than that figure paid in wages, so when one player will cost a club between £400m and £500m, maybe no surprise that many supporters see it as small change when the Newcastle buyout is said to be failing because of a difference of ‘only’ £50m.
Speaking of PSG, the reality is that they and Manchester City are the two clubs where any concept of reality went out of the window. Two club purchases where the amounts of money spent overall, means that at least on the surface there appears to be never any chance of the owners getting all of their money back, never mind make a profit.
That is not the norm though, Abramovich and Chelsea maybe the only one in England to be close to what happened/is happening at Man City.
There is really only one overriding reason why all of the others are getting involved in the Premier League, which is to make money. Not necessarily on a year to year basis but by running the club well, getting success on and off the pitch, then selling for a lot more at a future date.
Look at Liverpool, FSG bought them for around £300m and whilst they have invested money since, they allegedly turned down a £1billion offer from an Amanda Staveley led bid. Exactly how much substance there was in that is hard to say but certainly, if FSG did sell Liverpool, they would walk away with a massive profit.
So what is Newcastle United worth and with the £300m FSG paid for Liverpool in 2010 looking a bargain, is £300m for NUFC not a similar snip seven years later on, what with ever rapidly escalating TV deals, the next ones due to be revealed in February (2018).
Well whatever else, it definitely appears that if Newcastle are to be bought, it won’t be a PSG/Man City model of money no object.
Instead it will be a buyer(s) looking to invest to make a future profit.
So even if you leave aside how relegation fears would/will affect any valuation of Newcastle United, what is the value of the club without that factor?
If the Amanda Staveley bid valuation is £250m and they see that as what the club is really worth, paying ‘just another £50m’ would be paying 20% more than they want to.
It is a bit like you going to buy a car for ten grand and then being expected to pay another two grand more than you thought it would be.
In Staveley/NUFC’s case, it is just another business deal, which I am fine with, that is just the way it is. Jack Walker at Blackburn is a total one-off, we don’t have a Newcastle fan that is going to buy the club.
What you hope for is a business person(s) come in and build Newcastle United up and we see success, both on the field and in terms of revenues coming in. A win/win situation, fans see a better team and the owner eventually profits from doing a good job and selling the club at a far higher price.
If/when Amanda Staveley and her other investors take over at St James Park, they will have a plan. That plan will almost certainly include a length of time they have in mind, to get the club in the best state it can possibly be, then sell it.
If you pay £50m extra now, then that is £50m less profit you are ensuring in the future. It is £50m more risk as well, that you could potentially lose if it all goes wrong. You could also see it as money intended to be invested after the buyout, maybe instead having to be used for the initial purchase.
Bottom line is that any buyer of Newcastle United is unlikely to pay more for the club than they think it is worth, especially when they have seen this run of one point from 10 games and the club now in the relegation zone.
Amanda Staveley may have been born and bred only 70 or so miles down the road but her and whoever else is involved in trying to buy the club, are not Newcastle fans.
It is just another business deal for them. It certainly appears to be a business deal that they want to get done but nevertheless, a business deal that they will have no scruples about walking away from if the price isn’t right.
We know Newcastle could be a brilliant investment for any buyer if they get it right but if Mike Ashley is sticking to some unrealistic valuation, then I see absolutely zero chance of a deal happening.
Sadly, Ashley is rich enough to totally ruin Newcastle United and make it all but worthless, yet still it not to make any impact on the way he lives his life. He could still afford to go vomiting in pub fireplaces and flying around in his helicopter and private jet.
I honestly think that our best bet is if he needs the cash from the sale of Newcastle United to use on a business venture elsewhere, meaning he may feel he has to eventually take a realistic offer.
If not, we know he is stubborn and rich enough to think he will just hang on to the club and see what happens, especially with the new Premier League TV deals set to be announced in two months time.
If we get relegated yet again under his ownership he is arrogant and stupid enough to think that bouncing back for a third time will be a given, even though we all know it would be anything but.
Please, please, please let this nightmare of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United to be over soon.