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Comment: Problem at moment with Newcastle United Takeover is there are three separate issues

3 months ago
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It is simply stating the obvious of course but the Newcastle United Takeover is dominating this summer’s ‘rest’ from football.

Little wonder when hope was sparked two weeks after last season ended, with that newspaper report claiming the Bin Zayed Group (BZG) were in the process of taking over Newcastle United.

When two public statements were released by the Managing Director of the BZG within three days of that newspaper exclusive, it definitely made it feel like a more realistic chance that Mike Ashley could be leaving, compared to the smoke and mirrors of the previous 12 years.

To have very detailed claims made by the BZG that proof of funds had been given to Mike Ashley way back on 17 April, as well as a price of £350m stated to have been agreed, this felt very different.

The Staveley and Kenyon episodes had been long drawn out affairs with nobody ever named as definitely putting up the money behind these front people, that is if you believed they were seriously trying to buy Newcastle United as part of some bidding group.

With this summer 2019 Newcastle United Takeover episode, we had an actual bidder named who appears to have access to the kind of money needed to buy NUFC, plus the bidder (BZG) publicly state that this is happening, with broad terms having been agreed, according to their public statements.

It is now 18 days since that second public BZG statement and everything has gone very quiet in terms of anything being made public, so no surprise that this news/information vacuum has been filled with endless speculation and debate from both media and fans.

Definitely a case of feeding off scraps and any journalist claiming  a real inside track on what is/isn’t happening, met with derision.

There has though been a number of pieces of circumstantial ‘evidence’ to help retain some hope, with the fact Rafa Benitez has kept his silence rather than going on an offensive on no suitable contract offer being made, whilst the creation of the ‘Monochrome acquisition Limited’ company by the BZG people looked very much to be a financial vehicle potentially set up to be used to buy NUFC.

Then we have Mike Ashley and his people repeatedly giving ‘no comment’ rather than saying there is nothing in this, which combined with the BZG stating that they are definitely in talks/negotiations to buy the club, strongly suggests there is a possible deal to be done. Whatever the actual truth about what is or isn’t happening, it would be very far-fetched to believe that the likes of the BZG would be willing to be pretend bidders in order to cover up Ashley’s lack of spending on players or new contract agreed with Rafa.

With Newcastle United having become such an (even more) bizarre and chaotic football club under Mike Ashley, I think we have in reality faced three very different issues on this potential Newcastle United Takeover.

Will there be a Newcastle United Takeover

This is the most simple/obvious one. Will it or won’t it happen.

It is all that we are really bothered about but it is the question that we know will be answered last.

How Mike Ashley is handling the PR side of the Newcastle United Takeover

Nothing would ever surprise us about Mike Ashley after all these years. He could literally come out with anything and it would be impossible to know whether it is true or not.

Nobody expects a blow by blow account to be made public of what is happening day to day with this potential sale of the club. However, to have absolutely zero comment and/or reassurance from the club’s owner and his people is pure Mike Ashley.

He could easily have put out a holding statement telling supporters that takeover talks are indeed in progress and at the same time reassure fans that the club is in safe hands whatever happens (whether anybody would believe/take it seriously is maybe another matter). I think pretty much any other Premier League club would have done this as a minimum,  when a takeover as been so publicly talked about by a claimed bidder.

If this was Sports Direct then Mike Ashley would have had no choice, as uncertainty over the ownership of the business would/could affect the share price. With NUFC of course he has no legal obligation as there are no other shareholders, though there is a moral obligation to do so (make some kind of statement) I would argue.

To make matters even worse, whilst the club is riddled with so much uncertainty, to then have a Mike Ashley/club announcement of yet another season ticket price increase of 5% and given now only 18 days until the renewal deadline…quite incredible.

The state/health of the club at this time of a Newcastle United Takeover

I think apart from the central question of whether Mike Ashley will sell or not, this is the big issue for Newcastle fans.

If you had a normal Premier League club with a proper board, a proper high level business team running the non-football side of things, a settled manager contracted, a settled established top 10 Premier League team/squad, no urgent need for new signings…

Newcastle United sadly have none of that.

Lee Charnley is the token named board member, he is also the only named supposed business side executive.

Rafa Benitez sees his contract run out in 14 days time.

A team/squad that has lacked proper investment these past five transfer windows, a lack of net spending meaning Rafa has been forced to just try and get through each of these past two seasons without disaster (relegation).

We are now 32 days into the 2019 summer transfer window and Newcastle United are actually weaker in terms of the players available, with no attempt (so far) to buy last season’s player of the year, Salomon Rondon.

With other clubs, if you had a potential takeover fall through and they had to then simply continue with what they had, it wouldn’t be ideal and they might suffer a little the following season in terms of dropping a couple of places in the league due to a largely wasted summer, caused by the takeover uncertainty.

In Newcastle’s case though, we would be looking at potential/probable disaster.

For many/most Newcastle fans, no takeover happening will almost certainly lead to then a domino effect of no Rafa Benitez contract extension, no signing of Salomon Rondon or other signings Rafa had lined up. Instead, another Pardew/McClaren style puppet manager and hidden figures (Dennis Wise?)  deciding transfers in and out.

We already know that Isaac Hayden is almost sure to leave and if it all falls apart with Rafa Benitez not willing to stick it out any longer under Mike Ashley, you could see last season’s other key players pushing for moves elsewhere.

To have no takeover and no Rafa, with then no Rondon and Hayden, plus the likes of Schar, Dubravka, Perez, Lascelles and others unsettled and possibly agitating for a move. It doesn’t really bear thinking about.

It is not a case of needing to push the panic button just yet but with the clock ticking, we are now 18 days away from the NUFC squad back for pre-season and only four weeks until they fly off to China.

If players aren’t signed in time to be on that plane, it effectively means they won’t have any pre-season with Newcastle United, as when they return from China there will only be two weeks until the season kicks off.

I also saw the Chronicle journalists claiming there are high hopes of a positive start to the season. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that we don’t even know who the owner, manager or players will be…the fact that the first 11 matches include nine of last season’s top 11 in the Premier League, doesn’t give me any positive vibes as it stands.

Mike Ashley has created this summer’s sh..or bust scenario with his manipulation and neglect year after year.

Now it is time for him to get on and sort this Newcastle United Takeover, if there is indeed a deal to be completed.

We know he doesn’t care about the club, the city, or the fans, so hopefully even he will realise that financially this could end up a massive disaster for himself, with finally a sale of the club the best course for Mike Ashley as well.

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