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Opinion

If Mike Ashley is genuine about wanting to sell Newcastle United – The time is now

8 months ago
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The clock is ticking, only a couple of months until we have completed 12 full years under the ownership of Mike Ashley.

Now is the time for Mike Ashley to put Newcastle United up for sale.

When I say now, I don’t just mean now as in 2019, I mean now as in 21 March 2019.

That is, if he has any real genuine intention of trying to sell the club.

The first time Mike Ashley went public with a declaration that he would be definitely selling the club, it was during the 2008/09 season. The owner telling Newcastle fans that they should stop protesting as he had listened to them and was definitely going to sell.

Since then there have been regular messages put out by him, often by his people via friendly media or occasionally by Ashley himself, repeatedly saying that the club is definitely up for sale if only somebody was prepared to buy it…

There has been the odd red herring thrown in, such as when Mike Ashley then promised he definitely wouldn’t sell until Newcastle United won a trophy or qualified for the Champions League.

This has now been followed with October 2017 the NUFC owner going public and saying he would definitely sell the club now, if there is a buyer….

Whilst December 2018 saw a repeat performance, once again in the midst of fans protests, Ashley appeared on TV to state that he was very close to selling and a deal was imminent, that followed up lately by friendly media reporting his message that  even if Ashley’s preferred bidder didn’t complete a deal, there were plenty of other bidders of substance who would be up for buying the club.

Mike Ashley ‘selling’ the club is very much like how Newcastle United is run under him. The only plan is to try and survive another season in the Premier League with the lowest spend possible, whilst owning/selling the club is all about just saying whatever to fob off the media and fans, until the next time…

A recurring theme does though reappear with these claims of trying to sell the club.

Whether you are looking at back in 2008 or up in 2017 and 2018, plus everything in between, these claims by Mike Ashley that he is very definitely trying to sell the football club, are made during the actual football season. What is more, normally when in the middle of a relegation battle.

In other words, the very time when nobody in their right minds is going to buy a football club, especially one where the owner claims it is worth no less despite being mid-season and in danger of going down.

Newcastle are currently on 35 points after 31 games and as has been widely reported, all the stats are exactly the same as this time last season/year, right down to number of goals scored and conceded.

The bookies make Rafa’s team 150/1 to go down, basically they are saying zero chance and I agree with them.

The hard work has been done, with five wins and two draws in these past nine Premier League matches, meaning Newcastle will surely be a Premier League club next season.

At roughly this point last season, Rafa’s team won five and drew one in a seven match sequence.

That should have been the point (April 2018) when Mike Ashley should have gone all out to sell the club. Guaranteed to be a PL club the following season, give interested parties time to get the club bought April through to June/July and work with Rafa Benitez to make sure proper preparations, especially via the transfer window, in place for August and the new season.

A year earlier it had been exactly the same situation, once promotion was secured against Preston in April 2017, Mike Ashley had te perfect point to put the club up for sale.

Now we have had yet another farce, Mike Ashley claiming, in the middle of a relegation battle (December 2018) that somebody was seriously going to risk buying the club at his full asking price.

Is there still anybody who honestly believes this?

Only 10 days until April fools day, appropriately enough, and Newcastle’s next match, away at Arsenal.

If Mike Ashley has any genuine intention of selling the club, he should be getting himself back on TV and declaring it before that game.

Whether any of us would actually believe him after being lied to so many times is another matter BUT this is when anybody would be looking to buy and sell a football club. Not December in the middle of a relegation battle.

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