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Keith Bishop needs new Newcastle United takeover storylines, this is what was being fed to the papers 13 months ago

2 years ago

Sunday morning is full of ‘new’ reports and chatter about the Newcastle United takeover, with Mike Ashley’s PR lackey Keith Bishop apparently justifying his place on the NUFC owner’s payroll.

Slightly different stories in the various newspapers but they are actually the same, or very similar, in essence.

Rather than it being Mike Ashley’s fault that his much hyped (by him) impending sale of Newcastle United won’t go through, instead it is down to the fault/shortcomings of others.

For those of us (the vast majority/everybody?) who are sceptical as to Ashley having any serious intention of selling the club, today’s ‘exclusives’/storylines are all so predictable.

The newspapers claim (see below) one or all of these:

None of the bidders have enough money to buy the club.

They want Mike Ashley to agree to take less money now for the club and then pay extra at the end of the season if NUFC aren’t relegated (or pay the full whack now and Ashley refunds a proportion if then relegated this season).

Pay less money for the club now and Ashley only gets his full asking  price if future events happen, such as Newcastle qualifying for the Champions League within so many years after buying/selling NUFC.

The defining thing amongst all these newspaper claims is that they make the potential bidders look like the unreasonable ones.

After all, who is going to gamble on losing out on £100m on something like this that they can’t control after selling a business? To claim that a bidder has seriously asked for a clause where another £100m would be paid if Newcastle qualify for the Champions League in up to 10 years time is surely laughable. If Mike Ashley did by some chance at last seriously intend to sell the club now, it is because he has a use for that sale price money now, not in a decade’s time, plus £100m would be worth far less to somebody if they did get it in 2029 than in 2019!

It does look as though somebody could well be feeding the media these storylines…which brings us back to Keith Bishop, Ashley’s king of spin.

If you seriously believed this morning’s media claims, then you would think that these alleged bidders are simply wasting everybody’s time. This kind of thing is right up Mr Bishop’s street, poor Mike Ashley, puts the club up at a fair price and all these people who he/they told us were serious bidders, end up having just been timewasters, no fault attached to the NUFC owner.

Which takes us back (see below) to 13 months ago…

Back in November 2017 with the Amanda Staveley alleged bid making all the headlines, with Mike Ashley’s legal representative Andrew Henderson telling Sky Sports that there were also many other serious bidders interested, we had various claims in the media.

They alleged that the interested bidder(s) were insisting on relegation clauses, Champions League clauses (both qualifying and winning it!) within a certain time, as well as winning the Premier League by a certain date.

Surely Keith Bishop (pictured to the left of Mike Ashley above) could have come up with new storylines in this past year/13 months, funny that none of the newspapers running these stories today, are not even mentioning how this was exactly the same script in 2017.

Back then it was a case of how could any reasonable person expect Mike Ashley to accept such bids, based on large sums of money that he might never ever see?

Yet again the storyline being that it was the potentials buyers fault there would be no sale of Newcastle United, rather than an unwilling seller in Mike Ashley.

The bottom line never changes though, Premier League clubs are still very much a desirable purchase, if they are priced fairly to sell then there is no logical reason as to why they don’t.

In these eleven and a half years since Mike Ashley bought Newcastle, the vast majority of major clubs in England have changed hands totally, or somebody else has at least taken a controlling interest.

If Newcastle United is not sold this time, like all of the other times it was allegedly up for sale, it is only down to one thing, Mike Ashley.

If he really, genuinely, wants to sell the club, then it will happen.

However, so long as Keith Bishop is pushing out storylines, I won’t believe it for a second.

The Sun:

‘Peter Kenyon’s bid to take over Newcastle looks dead in the water. His offer is still £100million adrift of Mike Ashley’s asking price.

Former Manchester United and Chelsea chief Kenyon has come up with a way of increasing the original £200m he and his consortium have at their disposal.

But extraordinarily, for owner Ashley to get the £300m he wants, Newcastle would have to qualify for the Champions League in the next decade….Ashley has rejected that suggestion, wanting all the money up front.’

The Mirror:

‘Privately, Ashley has made it clear that any of them looking to do a cut-price deal in the event of relegation this season will be disappointed.

Prospective new owners possibly hoping to secure Newcastle on the cheap if Benitez cannot pull off his ‘miracle’ have been told it won’t be possible and that Ashley would rather take his chances again in the second tier…’

The Mag – 21 November 2017:

Things are continuing to warm up on the Newcastle takeover front.

Monday night seeing Sky News break the story that Amanda Staveley was heading up a bid that had seen a formal offer ‘in the region of £300m’ made for Newcastle United.

This was then followed by various confirmations that the club had indeed received an offer last week but that it was far lower than that £300m claimed figure.

Much talk was of complications/problems for Mike Ashley in how the offer was ‘structured’,

The first of those to be publicised was the alleged existence of a relegation clause, with money set to be repaid by Ashley if Newcastle ended up in the Championship in May.

You can kind of see where that one would come from, considering this is a season which continues to hang in the balance.

However, further reporting of claimed extra clauses surely stretch credibility…

Former Sky Sports journalist (and always supportive of Mike Ashley and failed former NUFC head of buying players, Graham Carr) Graeme Bailey claims Newcastle would have to win the Premier League for a full £300m to be paid.

Whilst Teamtalk go even further, by saying that it would have to be winning (not just qualifying for) the Champions League to bring about that figure.

I can understand taking possible relegation into consideration.

I could also imagine the possibility of including a sweetener of extra cash for Ashley if qualifying for the Champions League in the next say five or so years, because firstly it could potentially happen in the future with investment and lots of things falling right, whilst secondly qualifying for the Champions League would automatically mean loads of extra cash – some of which could be used to pay any such clause/incentive.

Payments dependent on actually winning the Champions League and/or Premier League are so beyond the reach of what is likely to happen, to make any such clauses laughable and surely nothing of that sort could be key to any deal.

Newcastle fans have already pointed the finger in the direction of Mike Ashley’s PR man Keith Bishop as a potential source for putting about these claims of Premier League/Champions League clauses, to make it look like the Staveley camp are being unreasonable and Mike Ashley is the one just wanting to get a fair deal done…

One other interesting fact to come forward is that it is Freshfields who are said to be the solicitors acting for Amanda Staveley. One of their top men is a certain Chris Mort, who of course was put in charge of Newcastle United for a year by Ashley, on temporary secondment from his normal job at Freshfields.

He would be able to tell Amanda Staveley a tale or two about how Mike Ashley runs Newcastle United…

Graeme Bailey‏:

“The offer for Newcastle from Amanda Staveley & PCP Capital Partners is £300m but that is only if Newcastle went on to win the Premier League, and they also want relegation release clauses – offer is way, way off the mark.

“Also there is no exclusivity agreement with this group.”


“Staveley’s group have also stipulated that the £300million price will only be fully achieved if Newcastle go on to win the Champions League in the next 10 years.

“TEAMtalk understands Ashley is very unhappy with the offer and PCP have not been granted exclusive negotiating rights and any deal is far from completion.

“Ashley told Sky Sports in August he was looking for £400million from the deal and so Denton’s solicitors, acting for Ashley, have some hard negotiating to do with Staveley’s solicitors Freshfields.

“PCP’s funds come via a combination of Staveley’s own equity, as well as from their investors – mainly made up of Middle Eastern investors.”


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