Mike Ashley has appeared on TV on Monday night to say he is in talks to sell Newcastle United.
The NUFC owner claiming (see below) that a sale could be possible even before we get to 2019.
Not surprisingly this ‘news’ has generated a lot of coverage.
Most of the media, as usual, just presenting Mike Ashley’s words at face value, as opposed to putting it in the context of everything that has, and especially hasn’t, happened over the course of this last decade and more.
There is one question that nobody is really asking though, which is strange, including the bloke from Sky News who did the ‘interview’ tonight.
Clearly Mike Ashley has got his people to tell Sky News that he wanted to come on and of course they are not going to turn it down as it is guaranteed to attract attention – but why not ask him why he is doing it?
Not why is he (allegedly) selling Newcastle United…but rather, if it is genuine, why is he going on TV to say that a sale is in progress?
We can all think of many reasons why Mike Ashley would be doing this if he is just pretending to sell the club yet again…
Deterring fans from boycotting the Wolves match.
Discouraging the 20,000 with long-term season tickets from cancelling in January (if they don’t then they start paying for next (2019/20) year’s season ticket months before this current season ends).
Getting in early with excuse for not backing Rafa Benitez in January transfer window (too busy concentrating on getting the sale of the club sorted etc etc).
Messing further with the heads of Newcastle fans.
Just because he can.
On the other hand, I can’t think of any logical feasible reason why he would have gone on TV to say this, if there is any serious intention of trying to sell the club.
In the past he has come out with this kind of nonsense to try and placate protesting fans, such as when he forced Kevin Keegan out and then told the supporters that they could stop the protests and had listened to them, and was going to sell the club as quickly as possible. Over ten years later we are still waiting…
It surely in no way reassures Rafa Benitez, or indeed the players, of anything. He could just communicate this to Rafa Benitez privately with a phone call. In actual fact it was only six weeks or so ago when at the infamous pizza meal, that there was next to no chance of the club being sold this season.
I have seen one journalist claim that this could be an Ashley ploy to hurry along the (supposed) prospective buyer…but to me that sounds beyond lame.
It is on the same level as one of my mates telling me the other day that his wife and daughter had been to look at dresses for her ‘Prom’ next summer. There was one dress she liked but with it being £4oo+ they wanted to go away and think/talk about it, the saleswoman warning them that if they did that, the dress might not still be there tomorrow. That will be right, getting somebody to panic buy a £400+ dress some seven months before the event.
So Mike Ashley thinking he can panic buy some punter who is taking his time on a £300m, or whatever the supposed price is, for the club.
Surely it was the most obvious question the Sky bloke should have asked Ashley, as in why are you going public with this news?
No mention at all, or question, either of the fact that Newcastle are slap bang in the middle of another relegation battle. Something that allegedly made a sale in the middle of last season all but impossible. Why is that not a factor/insurmountable hurdle this time?
Back in 2007 we suddenly heard the news that Mike Ashley had agreed to buy John Hall’s shares, which in reality meant the whole club.
Like many of you, nothing I have seen or heard since that point eleven and a half years ago, convinces me that any sale by Mike Ashley will not happen the same way.
If/when he does go it will just be announced, not some long drawn out affair of negotiating and publicly talking about it.
I hope I am wrong about it this time but hope left the building long ago.
The Mag – Earlier tonight (Monday 3 December 2018:
Mike Ashley has announced on Monday night that Newcastle United could be sold before the end of this month.
The NUFC owner stating that talks with the potential buyer are way beyond any previous talks with anybody wanting to buy the club and that it is ‘possible’ a deal could be done and dusted in December – but ‘realistic’ for it to happen this month might be ‘too strong a word’ to use.
Yet again you can’t help but have a small part of you wonder if it could happen at last BUT having over a decade now of the club supposedly being up for sale and a series of supposed near misses, most of us will believe it when we see it.
Predictably, it was Sky where Mike Ashley turned up. With cynics (all of us!) no doubt wondering if his sudden chat about supposedly selling the club, is in any way some part of a PR circus connected to his appearance before a house of commons select committee to talk about ‘saving the high street’ earlier today and/or yet another episode in toying with the hopes of Newcastle fans.
Mike Ashley talking to Sky News:
“I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that can please everybody.”
‘When will that be?’
“When would I like it to be?
“I would like it to be before the January transfer window.”
‘Is that realistic?’
“Hmmm. Realistic? It’s possible, realistic is maybe too strong a word.
“Hopefully we can carry on the good form…just recent good form…and we can get the deal done.”
‘So you are in exclusive talks with someone right now?’
“Not an exclusive but…
“Talks are at a more progressed stage than they have ever been.”
‘And whoever buys the club would presumably have to put in transfer funds for Rafa Benitez?’
“Yes, I’m very keen to sell it to the right buyer, so everybody is happy, that would be good news.”