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The three potential outcomes on the Newcastle United takeover

2 years ago
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Didn’t take long did it?

Despite the insistence of Rafa Benitez himself that there is still work to do, Saturday’s win at Leicester was surely the day that secured Premier League safety – a potentially vital step forward in the future of Newcastle United.

Inevitably, thoughts have now turned to the close season ahead, and the main issue that will be prevalent in that, is the prospect of a revived Newcastle United takeover bid – from Amanda Staveley’s mysterious PCP partners, someone else, or no one at all.

Within hours of the win at the King Power, an article appeared from the Sunday Mirror suggesting revived PCP discussions with Mike Ashley representatives had been going on for some time now. When the source and credibility of this story was questioned by a fan writing on this very website, the Mirror piece author, John Richardson, tweeted an angry riposte, outraged at the suggestion his piece was based on anything other than solid information and detailed research.

The to and fro over the coming weeks is going to be very tiring, as everyone from respected national journalists to Twitter-happy nut jobs insists they know exactly how this is going to pan out; either laying down clickbait or simply seeking a sense of importance.

My own take is this: no one knows.

Huge business deals worth hundreds of millions are not conducted in the public eye, nor are they vulnerable to leaks or infiltration. All I would say is there are three scenarios open here, all of which are possible. I do not believe that anybody outside of Mike Ashely’s innermost circle knows which one is true.

These are the three potential outcomes on the Newcastle United takeover:

One:

Amanda Staveley and PCP partners will now move to take over Newcastle United, with potential relegation having been the only previous sticking point.

It is entirely possible that the position of the team could have ground discussions to a halt last year. From the PCP perspective it must have been apparent that deals could not be done in a way that seriously impacted the January transfer window, and even if they could, the horrific 9 games/1 point slide between October and December was raising a serious question mark over our Premier League status.

Would you go ahead with a purchase for something that could imminently halve in value for reasons beyond your control? You’d seek assurances from the buyer that here would be some kind of clawback deal in place. The story is that PCP sought to do this but Mike Ashley, ever the gambler, chose to walk away from such chat and wager they’d come back once it was confirmed this was a bona fide Premier League product at a firmly established Premier League price.

This is at the very least, feasible, and could point towards the most optimistic outcome.

New owners, Rafa stays, funds and success follows. Or…..

Two:

There was no near deal with PCP, and NUFC remains up for sale. I actually think this is the least likely scenario, but it can’t be ruled out. Ashley will have a price, but there may be no one on the scene who has yet had a serious discussion. However, the club has been shop windowed and once that survival is rubber-stamped, interested parties will be free to act.

If true, this may well lead to a complicated mess of a summer, as others won’t have the advantage of having completed due diligence. However, it would probably be preferable to…..

Three:

Mike Ashley has no intention of selling Newcastle, never did, and not much is going to change.

Many will have already decided that this is the way it is, which I’d counter with the “no one knows” argument.

Conversely, if anyone is totally dismissive of this option, you’re being very short-sighted indeed. The obvious thought process is that, irrespective of the burden of ownership, Ashley coins far too much from outrageous amounts of free advertising and favours for his other business interests to ever consider selling NUFC.

Quite how deep the deception could run is open to further debate. Is Amanda Staveley an unwitting pawn in the game to show United as an unsalable commodity, or part of the act?

In a way, the successful progress of this season will have worsened the situation if we are living in scenario Three. Anyone dismissing this as an option would probably say that Ashley needs to sell while the going is good, before the next relegation proves unsalvageable and serious value is wiped off the price (yes, exhibit A to this possibility can be found a few miles down the A19).

However, he will have seen Rafa’s success on a minimal net outlay as vindicating the thrifty approach, as Brighton and Huddersfield land less prize money, or even return to the Championship, having infamously laid out up to an extra net £50 million than us post-promotion.

Another way to look at it of course would be that releasing these funds to Rafa would have returned a better season (European places?) and further grown the club’s profile to greater financial benefit. Mike will doubtless continue with the view that Rafa can craft silk purses from pigs ears, and allow him to spend the Mitrovic fee plus a couple of loans to build on (hopefully) a steady mid-table finish. This is where I fear it will all break.

Rafa is here at Newcastle for a number of reasons. He sees the potential of the club and feels the appreciation of the support. He is well paid for his role by comparison and tied in by a release fee. But also, Newcastle has been the best fit for him these past few years. He wants to stay in England but the very big clubs are not available, and our wee club from the north east are the most likely dark horse, the untapped resource that could be so much more.

I wonder whether yet another transfer window of being pi…. around may break that forlorn hope and noble ambition. Would Everton, or the regularly mooted West Ham, offer a more likely chance at kicking on without the threat of being consistently misled?

Could this season’s stellar efforts against the odds turn the heads of Arsenal or Chelsea, or a continental giant too big to turn down due to love for the Wirral?

If this occurs then I am afraid we collapse like a pack of cards.

Lascelles – cashed in.

Kenedy? – no chance.

The new manager – another patsy.

Everything we’d begun to hope for these past two years, up in smoke. We may retain enough tenacity to avoid the drop for a year or so, but surely Sunderland’s fate beckons in this universe (next T&W Derby in league 1?).

The reality goes back to my main point. We don’t know.

In all probability, this will involve suffering through the end of season dead rubbers and the entire World Cup while vicious rumours fly, “club insiders” are quoted by hopeless punters, and vitriol is sprayed liberally at those who hold an alternative opinion as to which of the above scenarios is definitely going to happen.

Unfortunately, until somebody actually does know, no one knows…..

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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