I don’t know if all football supporters feel this way but for Newcastle United fans, it does often seem like the media think they can fool all of the people, all of the time.
An excellent result and superb performance as Rafa’s team beat Leicester 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, a win that was actually far more convincing than the scoreline shows.
Yet in the hours that have followed the final whistle, the fans’ celebrations have been intermittently interrupted by some laughable media reports.
Firstly, we have seen a rehash by a number of newspapers/websites of a days old story claiming that Rafa Benitez is set to take over at Real Sociedad this summer.
This is a Real Sociedad who have zero chance of competing in Spain with the meagre money from their domestic TV contracts, plus their crowds have been down to the fifteen thousand mark for La Liga matches this season.
Secondly, pretty amusing that the rehashed ‘Rafa for Real Sociedad’ rubbish is being published at the same time as lame claims that secret talks have been taking place between the Amanda Staveley bidding group and Mike Ashley representatives, for a Newcastle takeover.
Predictably, this kite flying story from The Mirror tells us nothing really and sounds exactly just like the daily articles we were subjected to by all the newspapers when the NUFC takeover story was at its heights.
It was hilarious even back then, when Mike Ashley went public through Sky Sports and said no takeover would be now happening during the season, adding that there had been no talks for a long long time.
This was despite the daily newspaper ‘updates’ at the time, having constantly claimed in those preceding weeks that this and that had happened, with Staveley saying/doing this, whilst Ashley/his people had done this etc etc.
With Newcastle’s improving results, it was The Telegraph who first broke cover, claiming before the win over Huddersfield last weekend, that Mike Ashley was prepared to restart negotiations with Amanda Staveley over a takeover, once Premier League safety had been achieved. The story added that two other prospective bidders had also made contact with NUFC but would also be waiting until safety was confirmed, before taking things any further.
Whether The Telegraph did have any info is anybody’s guess but the report did sound believable at least.
As for this latest from The Mirror today, it sounds a bit feeble/embarrassing if you ask me…
‘Sunday Mirror Sport can reveal there have been constructive talks between Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s representatives and Staveley over the past few weeks.
Ashley ended all discussions with the group in January accusing them of a publicity stunt when they failed to come anywhere near his £350 million asking price.
But now with Premier League security looking more and more likely PCP are ready to increase their offer and move closer to Ashley’s valuation of the club he bought 11 years ago.
It’s understood that PCP’s confidence in securing a deal in the region of £300 million has led to them making plans to improve the club’s training ground.
All this is good news for manager Rafa Benitez who would have to think long and hard about his future in the summer if Ashley was still in charge.
Staveley’s group are committed to backing Benitez with a substantial transfer war chest if they wrest control of St. James’ Park and will immediately reward him with a new lengthy contract.’
Do you believe talks have been going on between Staveley and Ashley representatives since early March AND do you believe that The Mirror have inside information that this is so?
Claims of a ‘transfer war chest’ is always an essential to fit into this type of story.
As for ‘making plans to improve the club’s training ground’, you would expect any new owner to be looking at every aspect of the club that has been neglected.
It is some lengthy list and as well as the state of the art training ground promised by Mike Ashley years ago, you can add the underfunding of the first team squad, underfunding of the NUFC youth set-up, neglect of St James Park, as well as the obvious problems caused by a club owner repeatedly messing about and undermining his manager.
Reaching safety, even if not mathematically certain, was always going to see a deluge of unsubstantiated media tales surrounding the sale of Newcastle United, because of course the relegation talk/fears has to be replaced by something to fill pages/attract clicks.
I think most Newcastle fans will see these latest media reports regarding Ashley/Staveley and a takeover as believable as what was reported following the initial Staveley bid(s) and Ashley rejection last Autumn.
Telling people what they want to hear is all well and good but I think most Newcastle supporters think that when a sale of the club actually happens, it will come out of the blue and no doubt Mike Ashley will make sure Sky Sports have first go at it (as a condition of sale to Staveley or whoever), making sure he is portrayed in the best possible light.
Let’s hope that day comes soon and that Ashley is not going to be playing games once again, with a readiness to take a market price for the club, rather than setting a price that nobody is ever going to pay.