Is Mike Ashley at it again, or is this the time when he is eventually telling the truth?
Newcastle fans have quickly delivered their verdict after Ashley’s Monday night performance.
A case of heard it all before and a widespread belief that it is yet another case of simply messing with the fans and/or a start of a PR campaign to justify not buying a single player in a third January window in a row.
What about the media though?
Those journalists who follow Newcastle United on a daily basis, what do they make of the appearance/performance of Mike Ashley?
Here are three of the major figures and they all say/claim that they had been hearing that something could be in the offing ahead of Ashley’s Sky News appearance.
For Newcastle fans reading what they have to say, I guess there are two big questions.
Are these journalists telling the truth (I think they are).
Then if you accept that, is it credible what they are hearing?
I think this is where it falls down for me, not totally writing it off but when you hear anything like this, your automatic reaction is to think of the NUFC owner’s PR people behind it.
A lot of things don’t add up with what Mike Ashley is claiming. If you believe what he says, there are talks going on but they are not even down to a case of this supposed interested buyer having exclusive talks, yet Ashley says a deal could be completed this month???
The truth is out there, somewhere.
Luke Edwards – Telegraph:
‘For what it is worth I’ve been sitting on news of advanced takeover talks for a week now but didn’t want to write anything as we’re heard it all before. I don’t know who they are but I know things have been progressing well and it fits with Mike Ashley’s comments today
As ever, this is a slightly confusing picture with lots of conflicting information, but the important thing is I’m told what Ashley said tonight is “genuine”.
Lots of questions but I’m more confident than I have been in the past. Thing that troubles me is why Ashley has blurted this out when secrecy was demanded of others involved. Fingers crossed etc’
Craig Hope – The Mail:
‘Given that his preference is not to conduct takeover business in public, there is a strong chance that this is a tactic to hurry along investors, especially as sources have suggested there is more than one group who have expressed interest in recent weeks. They say that an unnamed investment fund are among those suitors but they have not signed a non-disclosure agreement.
However the identity of the party Ashley has spoken about remains a mystery and his revelations on Sky News even caught some of those close to him on the hop.
One name which has been doing the rounds is that of Arthur Blank, the owner of NFL side Atlanta Falcons and MLS franchise Atlanta United. The 76-year-old is said to be worth nearly $5billion.’
Mark Douglas – Chronicle:
‘Not surprised people are cynical about Mike Ashley’s latest interview – Kevin Keegan’s recent book laid bare the tribunal at which they admitted to miselading fans – and it should be treated with a health warning. He says that he’s not at the exclusivity point yet – which is confusing given he says a deal could be done in three weeks (before January).
But – and it’s a big but – there has been a lot of noise recently about takeovers. I have to be honest, I’ve been told recently something was advanced but in the post-Staveley ‘take-everything-with-a-pinch-salt’ mood I didn’t necessarily think it worthy of another story in the cynical climate.
It seems from what I’m being told tonight there is something in it. US interest seems the most plausible. An interesting few weeks await.’
The Mag – 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.
“It’s possible” – Mike Ashley says he is in talks to sell Newcastle United in a deal he hopes will go through before the January transfer window
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 3, 2018
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.”