It hasn’t been the most inspiring week for Newcastle fans.
Hopes of consecutive wins were dashed when a poor effort saw the team fail to beat bottom club Swansea, in the end grateful for substitute Joselu preventing a disastrous defeat.
Another week without any transfer window reinforcements isn’t exactly unexpected but that doesn’t prevent it still depressing matters further.
Rafa Benitez said in December that he wanted all signings completed by 15 January, or by 20 January (Saturday) at the very latest. Cynics may say that we have indeed already seen all the signings that are going to be made this month…
A report yesterday showed that in the 10 years of Mike Ashley’s reign, Newcastle have a smaller net spend in January windows than all other 19 current Premier League teams.
In fact, Newcastle have made a £30m profit over the course of the last 10 years in January windows, only a true optimist or fool would bet on any serious dents being made in that statistic in the next 13 days.
However, far worse, or should I say – more important, than everything above, is this week’s latest updates on the Newcastle United takeover.
Both sides have been busy feeding the media, with Sky Sports and others quoting Mike Ashley ‘sources’, then others publishing what Amanda Staveley spokesperson/people have told them.
Not sure what to believe? You are not alone.
We are all guilty when it comes to this Newcastle United takeover saga.
That is, guilty of believing what we want to believe.
We want to have hope of something better ahead, so it is only natural to believe what certain journalists/newspapers say, and not others.
We give more weight, maybe even just subconsciously, to those that are telling us what we want to hear.
The reality is of course also, that the newspapers/journalists know this, so if they know absolutely nothing and still have to publish something, then they are all but certain to come up with something that has a positive angle. They know that is what Newcastle fans want to hear.
So your typical report will mention that ‘talks are continuing/ongoing’, that ‘NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) is the reason nothing has been said/reported for sure because neither party wants to break that but we understand blah blah blah’.
So what is the truth?
Well, the latest update maybe is the one that we can count on, at least as much as you can count on anything these days…
David Conn of the Guardian doesn’t write articles/headlines for clicks, he doesn’t write transfer gossip, his usual diet is more serious pieces about the business of football and the finances of the sport.
He has revealed (read here) the Reuben brothers as backers for Amanda Staveley, with official spokespeople for both Staveley and the Reuben family confirming to David Conn that this is/was the case.
His article detailing that they backed an offer from Amanda Staveley that was made in November but that once that was rejected by Mike Ashley, nothing has happened in the six plus weeks that have followed. Plus, it/they add that they don’t expect anything to happen for the foreseeable future and their involvement is at an end unless something changes/happens in the future, apparently.
So out of all the acres of coverage I think that is something that I believe and which makes sense, an offer was made, Mike Ashley knocked it back.
Then nothing has happened since November.
It doesn’t mean that all journalists who have reported since then are lying. Of course some of them have but others simply pass on information from sources which they have no reason to believe isn’t true.
Exactly the same with transfer stories. Whilst clearly many transfer tales are invented, there are obviously many that report genuine interest which then doesn’t end up with a transfer actually happening to a particular club.
As for the Newcastle United takeover, surely once no quick agreement was reached on price in October or early November, Newcastle picking up only one point in the following nine weeks means that logic tells you an agreement was all but impossible, even if you had a willing buyer and seller.
If a club is sitting in or around the relegation zone, is the price agreed going to be for a Premier League or Championship club?
Newcastle are currently only three places and three points above the relegation zone, by the end of the month they could be in the relegation zone and without a single transfer window signing to help fight off relegation. or be all but safe after six points against Man City and Burnley with Mike Ashley having handed Rafa Benitez three £20m signings.
They say player transfers are difficult to do in January compared to the summer, so surely common sense tells you that the summer is when Newcastle United will change hands, if it ever does.
Until then, keep reading the headlines…but not necessarily believing them.