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Opinion

Ignoring any takeover possibility, current state of Newcastle United is a scandal that worsens daily

1 month ago
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I have thoroughly enjoyed jumping on board with the Newcastle United takeover talk these past few weeks. It has been a novelty for me.

When Staveley and Kenyon were in negotiations I was totally cynical. Without an offer that Ashley deemed acceptable from either I didn’t see anything worth getting excited for. Ashley accepting an offer was always the problem to me, not any of the many buyers making one.

Bin Zayed Group felt different, they were categoric, an offer had not only been accepted by Ashley, but the agreement was drawn up and signed by both parties and sent to the FA, with fit and proper tests not started, but pending. My main concern was supposedly bypassed, not only by Ashley’s handshake, but by a written (although not legally binding) agreement which surely meant we were in the final stretch.

This optimism has ebbed. The only news from either party has been an “all good” from the buyer, but it doesn’t feel good when we’re told there is no exclusivity for their deal and other interested parties. Whatever Bin Zayed Group announced looks less like a done deal every day and more like it always has been under Ashley.

Days are something in short supply too.

As each passes without progress we press further towards deadlines that could prove catastrophic.

In 16 days Rafa is out of contract, in 20 days season ticket renewals have to be in, the first friendly is in 33 days and the transfer window closes in 55 Days.

Then, in 58 days Newcastle will play their first premier league game of 2019/2020.

Newcastle are in disarray ahead of all these oncoming events. With the departures of Rondon, Diame and Kenedy the squad is weakened. We’ve signed nobody. We have no manager contracted to take charge for those friendlies and drill the them ahead of the league starting. Transfers will not be sanctioned, there is no executive empowered to resolve any of these issues and no owner engaged in doing so.

There comes a point where ownership (even that as irresponsible as Ashley’s) demands action be taken. Ignoring any takeover possibility whatsoever, the current state of the club is a scandal that worsens daily. As we head into late June and on to July events are coming up fast and will overtake him. He’ll be required to act rather than continue to draw out this nonsense any further.

Whether the decisions made in the coming weeks display a long term vision for the club, or a short term sticking plaster, might tell us what Ashley wants to do with the club, but could be disastrous under ANY owner. Whether the manager is interim or long term, if it’s not Rafa they will have a massive job matching his performance of the last two years in survivng with the current squad.

Even if a buyer completes the purchase after Rafa departs and brings him back, if we’ve not improved the squad before the transfer window closes then our position might well be beyond recovery, when the transfer window re-opens again in January 2020 and we have our first chance to add quality.

Newcastle United are a rudderless ship heading for a massive iceberg, desperate for a captain to take the wheel, the longer it takes, the more likely we are to sink.

You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt

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