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Opinion

Mike Ashley is well capable of simply walking away from Newcastle United Takeover deal

4 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley is continuing to ‘No Comment’ on the Newcastle United Takeover.

Newcastle fans and the media still with zero idea as to whether this time he really is serious about selling the club.

Unless they are total charlatans, at least it appears that in the Bin Zayed Group we do have a serious bidder.

The media claim that there are other serious bidders that Mike Ashley is also talking to but as has always been the case before, the journalists are incapable of naming any of these mysterious other potential buyers.

So if the BNZ (and potentially others) are willing buyers, will Mike Ashley follow it through and take the money?

Well the way this is developing has led many Newcastle fans to conclude that surely this time it will.

The silence from the Ashley camp, no new contract agreed with Rafa, no moves to sign any players, surely this can only mean that a deal is being done and everything is on hold for then the new owners to belatedly kickstart this NUFC summer and do things their way….

The alternative is just too horrific to contemplate.

Obviously to have this hope of a takeover and exit of Mike Ashley, if it were to be then snatched away, that would be bad enough. However, if on top of that we just drift towards the end of this month and even into July, with no major announcement and no (positive) conclusion to Rafa’s situation, nor new signings brought in, it is looking like disaster with a capital D.

The problem comes when we have such a mental set-up and owner, these past 12 years telling us so much, most of it bad.

How many times in the past have we/you said, surely Mike Ashley won’t do this because it is an own goal/stupid/counter-productive and so on???

Then of course he goes ahead and does it.

None of us believed that Mike Ashley had brought Kevin Keegan back whilst at the same time giving Dennis Wise the real power, nor could you believe he would ask Alan Shearer to give him a detailed plan on how to turn the club around and then never ever get back to him, bringing in JFK as manager, bringing JFK back as Director of Football and have the idiot (JFK on this occasion…) drunkenly announce it himself on radio, refuse to have any net spend and buy only Vurnon Anita after ending up fifth in 2011/12, buy not a single player for 18 months (January 2014 – summer 2015), Wonga on the shirts, rename St James Park without a penny going into NUFC and so on…

Mike Ashley has shown time and time again that he treats Newcastle United like it is a big game. In fairness it is a game that he has already won many times over, as the unfailing loyalty of the fans has been abused time and time again, yet still they have provided that essential backdrop to the free Sports Direct advertising that has been a key part in driving the expansion and profits of Ashley’s retail empire. He has made a lot of money from his association with Newcastle United and then on top of that he can/could finally sell the club and make even more money from it.

Or he could just decide to hang onto it after all…

Mike Ashley has shown repeatedly that he is willing to gamble with Newcastle United. In January 2017 he refused to allow Rafa Benitez to bring in any players to make sure of promotion and help prepare for the Premier League, summer 2017 he refused to give the manager a realistic budget to deal with the step up as Huddersfield and Brighton had far higher net spends, January 2018 and despite deep in a relegation fight Ashley refused to allow Rafa to buy a single player, summer 2018 and Rafa desperate to finally progress…instead Mike Ashley insisted on a £20m profit on transfer deals in and out before then taking £33m out of the club once the transfer window closed.

Easy to forget that in January, Newcastle were once again deep in relegation trouble until Miguel Almiron helped spark a run of form. However, that signing only happened on the very final day of the window and the player’s agent said it almost didn’t happen, with a transfer only agreed because Atlanta reduced the price they were demanding. In other words, if they hadn’t moved their position, Almiron wouldn’t have signed and who knows what the repercussions of that latest Ashley gamble would have been?

So does anybody really think it is impossible that we get to the end of the month, Rafa Benitez walks away in disgust and pre-season starts (4 July – in 17 days time) with Neil Redfearn (recently appointed as reserve team manager) in charge of the first team? Then a week or so later with still no new signings, Redfearn and HIS Newcastle squad get on the plane to China for that pre-season tournament. Bear in mind as well that when the NUFC squad return from that trip to China, there will be less than three weeks left until the season kick off and just ver two weeks until the transfer window closes.

I am still optimistic about this Newcastle United Takeover happening.

However, I am also still realistic enough to acknowledge just what Mike Ashley has shown he is capable of over these last 12 years.

Indeed, to put up season ticket prices (yet again) across St James Park by 5% amidst all of this uncertainty and with most other PL clubs freezing prices, proves once more that he is willing to do whatever, no matter how unjustified it is.

Here’s hoping for a conclusion ASAP because with every day that is going by, I just keep imagining/reminding myself more and more what Mike Ashley is actually capable of.

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