There’s a very nice law student down in Bristol called Tom Benbow, who is a fan, and is writing a Twitter blog about the Newcastle takeover.

He produces good information and digs away at public sources and it is admirable in these respects…but the lad is infuriating.

Anyway, I am writing this piece on the night of the Fourth Round draw and I am feeling a bit bruised that a much improved attacking display against Luton has not received a better reward than a likely away tie at Chelsea.

But this disappointment would not by itself have been enough to induce me to write about the Newcastle takeover, or the lack of it.

I had pretty much vowed not to utter a word on the subject because only Amanda and Mike really know what is in their heads. It is what is in their heads that will determine whether or not this takeover goes ahead. In Amanda’s case it is also a question of what is in the heads of some very rich people in Saudi Arabia, if the rumours about who she represents are true.

So nobody really knows anything. Certainly I know nothing. But the point is that Tom Benbow knows nothing either.

To his credit he is merely reproducing publicly available information and drawing conclusions which he is plainly entitled to draw, though his conclusions do not flow directly from these pieces of information.

The problem is, though, that some fans are intimidated by what they are calling ‘white collar’ jargon and City concepts and at the same time plainly trusting in Tom to provide explanations that fulfil their faith in their own wishful thinking.

I have read Tom’s stuff and have read pretty much every rumour, piece of speculation and newspaper effusion. For what it’s worth (virtually nothing) I am pretty sure a takeover is being discussed, and is still being discussed. Amanda has signed a Non Disclosure Agreement which stops her from saying anything she has learned about the club during her inspection of the books.

It doesn’t stop her saying something like ‘Hey boys, I’m fed up with Mike, and won’t be buying the club any more.’ She could say that, and she hasn’t, which I take to be an optimistic sign.

But law student Tom goes beyond explaining the application of Company Law to his readers. He concludes his account of Sports Direct motions with an assertion that it can’t just be a coincidence that Sports Direct is giving itself authority to buy millions of its own shares, when these shares it is giving itself permission to buy would cost around £300m, which of course sounds rather like the price of Newcastle United.

Well, Tom, I think it could easily be a coincidence. Just because Sports Direct can suddenly buy its own shares doesn’t mean Mike is about to sell the club. Conversely, just because his holding company MASH may be raising, perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not, a sum adjacent to £300m by selling the Toon, has got nothing to do with Sports Direct whatever.

And most particularly, if MASH (a privately owned company controlled by Mike) went ahead with a sale of Newcastle United to Amanda he would NOT be entitled to stick all that dosh into Sports Direct, a public company regulated by the City and advised by an army of cerebral lawyers.

Obviously an investor can buy shares in a public company like Sports Direct, but they buy shares through intermediaries, the transaction is regulated, and is recorded by the Stock Exchange. Such transactions are highly price sensitive. If someone buys a lot of shares in a public company the price goes up, and fortunes are made.

So there is nothing to stop MASH using all this (imaginary) cash from Amanda to buy shares in Sports Direct in the proper way. But the whole point of the resolutions painstakingly enumerated by Tom in Bristol is that it won’t be MASH buying these shares. It will be Sports Direct buying its own shares. I don’t know why Mike is doing this, but that’s not the point. Tom’s coincidence disappears right there. The MASH money (if it transpires) cannot be used for the Sports Direct investment.

Let me be quite clear. I think Amanda is still trying to buy the club. From what I read, her valuation is around £50m south of Mike’s. That is the real problem. It is in part a down payment on the discount that Amanda wants Mike to give her in the event Newcastle are relegated. In the Championship Newcastle would be worth (according to journalists) little more than the outstanding loan account in MASH’s favour. But Mike is not giving her any such discount.

As the season goes on, the gamble on whether or not Newcastle are going to stay up becomes progressively easier to read. It becomes, effectively, less and less of a gamble.

But whether or not Amanda will need to be absolutely sure Newcastle are staying up, and absolutely sure Rafa will be sticking around, before she commits to a purchase is a decision that resides in her head, and in nobody else’s. Certainly not in mine. Even in those circumstances would she agree to Mike’s terms? I don’t know.

But a sale won’t be going ahead this week, for all that Mike is back from his holidays.

Let’s hope I’m wrong, and let’s hope dear old Tom down in Bristol is right. Dry January, in that event, will be greatly foreshortened.

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  • TheNutJob

    Fatty hasn`t compromised yet & he`s unlikely to do so. the poor lass took a water pistol to a gunfight against the evil one

  • wheyayeman

    This takeover is almost as painful as the rest of Ashleys time in charge (be quiet Clarko) because for the rest of us every single day is….gggggaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  • CaptainCaveman

    It’s best to assume that this just won’t happen.

    • Jezza

      It was never going to happen.

      • TheNutJob

        i think Fatty used her to draw out other buyers & it didn`t happen so he`ll sit tight

        • Leazes

          There is a link between Staveley and the City of Newcastle

          …..Amanda is the 3X Great Granddaughter of one Henry Ingledew Mayor of the City in 1860 and another many times Great-Uncle Richard Cail Mayor of Newcastle 1871 and 1879.

          … maybe just maybe she want’s to buy.

          • Mark Potter

            What link? There is nothing obvious in her background that would suggest she has any connection to the area.

          • Leazes

            She’s a descendant of Newcastle Mayor Henry Ingledew 1860, and some very prominent and wealthy victorians here including the Cail family who were exporters of coal. Another Mayor Richard Cail also a Mayor of Newcastle (twice) was a great X3 uncle.

        • Peaky Magpie

          She could always get him a pudding and an after 8 mint after the next nosh up ! Would that seal the deal ???

          • Rich Lawson

            Probably need a brandy too and pick up the bill.

    • FatParosite

      It was always a PR ruse… The fat lad has played the hand sitters again….

  • Geordie Pete Moore

    Sick of this story now, lets forget the bitcoin takeover and move on now. Miss Staveleys had her chance to show she and her investors care what happens to the toon and not one shred of evidence to show true interest or compassion for the best fans in the World, Rafa do what you have to do, I will still be a fan even if we sink to lower divisions, its not all about the money for me and I can see Rafa moving on to climates new soon. Howay the Toon and Rafa just go out and spend some cash for some decent players, if Cashley has to swallow it then let him. You have a duty to the fans as well as the club !!

  • Stephen

    Only three clubs going to win anything for the foreseeable future City backed by Oil Rich Saudi Prince, Chelsea by a Russian Billionaire and Man U who’s owners don’t care about the debt as long as they get there’s.
    As for the rest forget it.
    We are stuck with this awful owner but what is going to change if the club is sold?
    It’s not just Newcastle.
    ‘Financial Fair Play’ Don’t make me laugh.

    • Leazes

      Liverpool are buying defenders for 75 million… that’s the fourth Champions League place. UEFA places Spurs the fifth spot and Arsenal sixth….. and one left over for the cannon fodder to fight over.

      • Stephen

        Odds on Spurs sell Harry Kane at the end of the Season
        Neither Player or Club will be able to resist the Money

        • Leazes

          Spuds are moving into new bigger ground they’ll be ambitious enough to hold him.

          • Martin Rooney

            Liverpool are only buying 75m defenders as they were lucky enough to sell a player for 142m who was only bought for that as barca where able to sell a player for 193million. Liverpool won’t win the league for the reasons Stephen makes, Manu will remain streets ahead of them financially, man city will take all the oil cash it needs, Chelsea’s bubble will burst a bit but will still be around the top five spurs are taking big gambles, banking on huge revenues from london based companies paying over £500 per ticket for up to 2500 corporate ‘fans’ per match. Kane will likely go as it will be more than 3 years till they can afford 300K a week wages, they will then be the next club doing what liverpool is now with their astronomical player sale income.
            Newcastle on the other hand will be in the same place they are now, there is no magic wand coming from Staveley and no barrel load of cash. Soon we will have folks on hear telling us that Staveley said she’d spend billions but she didn’t. If you think Ashley’s an asset abuser just wait till you see where we are when her and her cronies are taking the pennies that Ashley never has.

          • Leazes

            There’s no Staveley Cash.

          • Leazes

            I’d put them in the top 6

    • Stephen Paylor

      1 (3) Manchester United 515.3
      2 (2) Barcelona 463.8
      3 (1) Real Madrid 463.8
      4 (5) Bayern Munich 442.7
      5 (6) Manchester City 392.6
      6 (4) Paris St-Germain 389.6
      7 (7) Arsenal 350.4
      8 (8) Chelsea 334.6
      9 (9) Liverpool 302
      10 (10) Juventus 255.1

      Gross revenue figures and therefore operational budgets for the top 10 clubs based from last season (not this season). NUFC for arguments sake run correctly can likely get to 200 million and maybe 17th in the whole of Europe. 7th or 8th in England

  • TheFatController

    The difference in valuation isn’t anything other than differing views of the our PL status.

    Staveley And PCP seem to agree with Ashley a PL NUFC is worth £300m of anyone’s money, they just point out that every time they look at the table we are far from being guaranteed PL status next season.

    Ashley clearly refutes that there is any threat of relegation, otherwise he’d not get angry at the relegation clauses PCP want included.

    So yes, until either Ashley agrees the issue of relegation needs addressing or we win games and sit well above the relegation zone, then they will not agree on valuation.

    The only way we’ll see agreement anytime soon is if Ashley agrees on relegation clauses or PCP drop them.

    If Ashley doesn’t, PCP will just wait on results…

    • molend

      ‘Ashley clearly refutes that there is any threat of relegation, otherwise he’d not get angry at the relegation clauses PCP want included’. I know what you mean, but it does seem like a non sequitur. If he were really convinced that we wouldn’t go down, the relegation clause wouldn’t bother him. It looks to me (but what do I really know?) as if he’s saying ‘If i invest x to make sure we stay up and then sell for 300, then I get 300-x. If I invest nowt, (and by some miracle) we stay up and I sell for 300, I get the lot’. Depressing, but that’s how I see it. And, to be honest, given that he seems to care nothing about NUFC, why would he want to sell it anyway? Even more depressing.

      • Mark Potter

        If he invests? What does this mean? Ashley has never spent his own money on buying players. The players are bought by the club, from the money from TV, matchday receipts and commercial deals, and selling other players. The only question that Rafa is not sure about his budget to buy new players may be answered today, if Gayle and Mitro really are on their way.

        • Martin Rooney

          He has on two occasions put money into the club in form of loans in order to buy players, read the accounts.

          • Leazes

            …. it was to cover relegation costs of his own making…. that isn’t investing!

          • Mark Potter

            Yep. He covered payment of wages of existing players, not to buy new players. And there was no long-term investment. The money had to be repaid from TV payments within two years after promotion back to the Premiership. He has never put money into the club to buy players.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Classic Mexican Standoff with no one budging an inch until it’s too late.

    • Leazes

      Maybe the whole thing has been an excuse to relegate the club again….

      If I were a journalist I would be asking the Chairman why after relegating the club twice through lack of investment he seems to be trying for a hat-trick in quick succession. He seems to be either the stupidest person on earth or the most malevolent mas0chist.

      • Peaky Magpie

        Nothing,absolutely nothing would surprise me now Leazes,in fact what’s next lurking in the corner about to make an appearance ?

        • Leazes


      • Mitros gotta start

        “You have no idea how horrible we can be”
        Derek llambias

        • Leazes

          He’s already cut his nose off to spite his face…. and an ear.

        • gallowgate26

          I think Keith Bishop “the PR man”, was hired precisely to stop quotes like that from surfacing.

      • Peaky Magpie

        He loves the notoriety and another relegation would only add to that I fear,it fuels his ego.

      • Mark Potter

        What Chairman? There is only one Director of the club, Charnley. Ashley is not a Director.

        • Peaky Magpie

          Where is Penfold by the way ?? Keeping a very low profile at the minute.

        • Leazes

          Yes that’s who I’m directing to comment at.

      • Georgia Peter

        W*nker springs to mind.

  • Jorge Miguel

    I think he’s got completely the wrong end of the stick. As you say, Sports Direct will be purchasing up to £300m in shares in sports direct (either for cancellation or to be put in treasury). This reduces the amount of shares in circulation and will in theory increase the Earnings per share . This has nothing to do with Mash Holdings. If Mash holdings want to use the proceeds of the NUFC sale to buy Sports direct shares, they would have to do it on the open market or do a deal to buy out some of the big institutional investors. This would mean there are still the same number of shares in circulation, unlike Sports Direct buying it’s own shares back.

  • Codeghost

    From a purely financial perspective, MASH could quite easily buy a non-listed form of stock or make a pure loan (very much like MA himself does to NUFC) which Sports Direct could use to fund a share buy back of the common stock.

    • Wiz

      I didn’t want to get too technical, but publicly quoted companies that give themselves permission to buy their own shares have to do it from distributable reserves and not from capital advances.

  • Peaky Magpie

    This whole situation has a similar feeling as that at the end of “The Italian Job”

    • Leazes

      They should have done a sequel so you find out what happened on the edge of the cliff…. there wasn’t a sequel…. so you can probably surmise.

      • Peaky Magpie

        I suppose it depends if you’re a half full/half empty type of person but Michael Caine has been in loads since so he at least got off the bus !

        • Leazes

          It wasn’t real.

          • Peaky Magpie

            Please tell me you’re kidding 😂😂 “It’s a self preservation society “ !

          • Paul Patterson

            And unlike Caine, Ashley and Charnley don’t have ‘an idea’ . .

  • Philippines

    There is a section in “Private Eye” called Psued’s Corner. This would be a suitable article for that. What meaningless tripe.

  • Andrew

    For what it’s worth (not much) I think the point about the gamble receding is the most important. If Ashley won’t give any discounts or guarantees to reduce the financial burden of relegation for PCP, then PCP won’t want to pay any money across until they are sure relegation won’t happen. The slump in form from October-December was critically bad-timing because it planted the seed of doubt. I think this deal will only go through when survival is sure, which might be as late as May obviously. The article states that the gamble recedes over time, but not if it goes to the wire. To be optimistic, I still feel sure that there are 3 worse teams in the league and we will survive whatever we do with transfers this month.

    • Wiz

      Yes, and the other point would be that Amanda clearly doesn’t think a lot of investment and new players in January would guarantee the Toon staying up! I gather Amanda would expect the club to operate on a sustainable basis – it’s not going to be Manchester City. More like Bayern Munich. But she would invest substantially. It was clear from the first that Mike was going to run the club on the cheap. Not true of Amanda.

      • Leazes

        Find the Staveley Money….. past and present interests

        North Stainley Farms …..£55k profit 2017 Staveley Family farm

        FUTURA MEDICAL PLC….ended as director.

        PCP (GREEN MOUNTAIN) LIMITED….Dissolved 2011

        Villa W46, Yasmeen 3, Emirates Hills, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, W1J 8PB

        PCP INTERNATIONAL FINANCE LIMITED (subsidiary owned by above)
        Ogier House, Ogier House, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, JE4 9WG

        ASRIEL OIL LTD…. dissolved 2014…..

        THE AMANDA STAVELEY FOUNDATION…. assets £0…. Reserves £0 as 2016 dormant company.

        Unless there’s any dosh in the hidden Jersey Account and the mystery ‘Partner’ in the partnership.

        Amanda’s Accountant for a lot of this ‘Paper Company’ stuff is a chap called Craig Farquhar Eadie…. his accounts seem to be empty as well….

        • Guest 2

          She’s a broker and the original story was she was brokering a deal for her clients. That premise has escalated ever since based on nothing.
          PCP accounts in Dubai or elsewhere will not be shown here in the UK. Just because there are PCP named companies registered at Companies House does not in anyway indicate nor imply they are the ones through which the funds are held.

          • Leazes

            PCP account isn’t in Dubai …. its British registered with the owners permanent address and has £3.5 million in it…. which is more than any of the other accounts. Probably Amanda’s share of the Lightwater Valley Company which she and her brother inherited and sold.

            Her husband was said to be Iranian but he’s a British national and runs a PR company from Chiswick High Rd called Velvet Media, it has about £65k in it.

            This whole thing is looking increasingly like a PR event

            The Curry House meeting with the owner of the express Richard Desmond in tow…. cheap stunt.

            The whole thing designed to draw out a genuine bidder has gone silent because it didn’t work.

            Oh yes….and Amanda’s three times great grandfather was mayor of Newcastle his name was Henry Ingledew.

            There you go Kevin…. its a stunt.

          • Leazes

            PCP account isn’t in Dubai …. its British registered with the owners permanent address and has £3.5 million in it…. which is more than any of the other accounts. Probably Amanda’s share of the Lightwater Valley Company which she and her brother inherited and sold. PCP Capital Partners has a share issue of ONE share…. there are no partners.

            Her husband was said to be Iranian but he’s a British national and runs a PR company from Chiswick High Rd called Velvet Media, it has about £65k in it.

            This is looking increasingly like a PR event

            The Curry House meeting with the owner of the express Richard Desmond in tow…. cheap stunt.

            The whole thing designed to draw out a genuine bidder has gone silent because it didn’t work. If Amanda is representing middle east money are they really quibbling about a few million?… NO!

            Oh yes….and Amanda’s three times great grandfather was mayor of Newcastle his name was Henry Ingledew.

            There you go …. its a stunt and they’ve roped in lazy journalists who didn’t do their homework.

          • Guest 2

            Don’t be ridiculous man. Just Google the deals she’s been involved in over the years – her fees and the money her firm controls is somewhere even if you can’t find it.
            Doesn’t make the story a stunt just because you aren’t Columbo.
            Wonder why you would think someone like her would agree to anything so false in order to support Ashley?
            All you have highlighted is that the money isn’t in a UK company registered accounts.

          • Leazes

            If you are waiting for a takeover then I hope you’ve brought plenty of sandwiches and a flask….

          • Wiz

            Craig Eadie is a solicitor who represented Amanda in the Manchester City takeover. The registered office of PCP appears to be his home in Devon.

  • Leazes

    PCP Capital Partners(6606037) was wound up on 22nd August 2013…. the DS01 application to strike off this company was made by Amanda Staveley.

    Companies House issued Notification of dissolved Company on 7th Jan 2014

    It seems the press have been fishing usingh red herrings as bait!

  • Andy Mac

    All the while Fatman holds out for an unrealistic sale price there will be no buyers. What he wants and when he wants to sell is not down to him.

    Sadly he may be here for the foreseeable unless we collectively grow a set and make life as difficult for him as possible ??

  • Down Under Mag

    I think she would probably come closer to the 300m if the club were in a better position but she isn’t going to agree a deal when the club could easily be relegated come the end of the season. I expect one of three things will be done…first is she will wait on a deal until closer to the end of the season and once safety is assured will pounce and get the deal for closer to Mikes asking price; second is that she will wait until the end of the season and if relegated get the club for less than what is on the table now; or third, either her or Ashley get sick of it all and Ashley then pulls the plug, rakes in the TV money at the end of the season and maintains the club on the current path until such time as he feels the need to reinvigorate the clubs profile for his own advertising gains or just wants to ensure he has another ready made excuse why he won’t be spending any money in the next window.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    I appreciate you taking the time to write the article but you start by saying this person doesn’t know anything, And that person doesn’t know anything.
    You then proceed to write a big article based on assumptions, Guesses, Opinions and third hand from a law student in Bristol.
    None of this information is based in fact so we find ourselves no further forward by the end of the article and still non the wiser.