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Opinion

Newcastle United Takeover? There is always a straw that broke the camel’s back…

4 months ago
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Is everybody getting themselves refreshed?

Everyone enjoying their holidays?

Yes or no? In reality we should all be switching off and relaxing until June 13th when we will know the [rough] fixture list for next season. But no, it doesn’t work as easily as that, this IS Newcastle United after all.

Following on from that fixture announcement, we have players returning for pre-season the first week in July, that’s under four weeks away and the club is (once again) bogged down in more Newcastle United Takeover talk.

Where have we heard that before?

Sandwiched in between those two dates is the big date of June 30th where manager Rafa Benitez’ contract will expire and, if nothing is announced with regards to the takeover, we will have a much clearer picture as to what to expect next season.

After the media announcement that a takeover was in the offing, there has been an uncanny silence from the club, a familiar refrain of ‘No comment’. Can’t say I was surprised, it was fully expected from me but it does leave fans in a period of limbo.

There’s not a lot Newcastle fans can do in the interim period before Rafa’s contract expires. We can all sit back and chill for the next three weeks as pending an announcement from the club’s prospective new owners and a press conference scheduled to announce the new era we are simply playing the waiting game- ‘End Game’ if you like. We will know what’s happening more clearly in early July.

As an aside, I’m not fully buying the ‘takeover’ talk just yet, as 12 years of Mike Ashley has left me ultra cynical on such matters. I started off two weeks ago completely blanking the notion of Ashley being prepared to sell Newcastle United as we’d all heard it many times before and it’s always turned out to be a smokescreen, a means of deflection from the real issues of growing the club and moving it on from merely aiming for survival year on year.

The presence of Sheikh Khaled makes me inclined to believe that there is a validity to this takeover that hasn’t been present in the past and that they have the financial clout to make it happen and make the club viable in the transfer market after years of cutbacks and shoestring budgets. Shots on social media of S****s D****t signs being taken down and chucked in skips at St James’ Park have also raised an eyebrow over the last few days, causing people to put two and two together and not simply judge that they’ve been taken down for cleaning. New owners incoming perhaps?

However, I’m also still wary of that invisible Mike Ashley ‘switch’. The current owner has an uncanny knack of turning a positive into a crushing negative at the slightest moment.

Let’s say the takeover is real and that there is a process currently ongoing to buy the club. This is all great publicity and much like the reported takeovers involving Peter Kenyon and Amanda Staveley, the attention it gives Mike Ashley will not have been dismissed by the man himself. Every time the club, takeover or anything connected with Ashley is mentioned, it generates interest for him and S****s D****t and his other companies. That’s currency in this day and age and after losing his stake in Debenhams recently at a cost of £150m, he’ll be looking at ways of making some of that back. A greedy billionaire doesn’t drop £150m and forget in a hurry.

It would be nice to think that he was going to sell the club and generate £350m that way, but I can never trust the man, who has made denying a club use of it’s own revenue an art form.

You can certainly not rule out this charade being dragged out until after June 30th (Rafa’s contract expiry) and then all of a sudden a statement is issued saying that the whole takeover is off, the club isn’t for sale and (not for the first, second or third time) we move on looking for another patsy/stooge of a manager, to lead us into another relegation battle next season.

If that somewhat predictable scenario happens and Rafa Benitez sticks two fingers up at the owner and moves on to pastures new, he’ll get my thanks. It will also see me and many others finished with the club with Ashley still attached to it, others may have gone sooner but there’s always a straw that broke the camel’s back- #Ifrafagoeswego indeed.

Scoff if you like and if I’m wrong I’m wrong. So what? We will be openly partying in the streets. There will be unbridled scenes across Newcastle Upon Tyne and beyond, glasses raised to our new owners from Abu Dhabi (where ironically alcohol isn’t the drink of choice) and attention will turn to the financial clout that would no doubt be coming our way as years of neglect are finally tossed into history.

But if I’m right, then once again Mike Ashley and his team of PR wizards and wind up merchants will once again have engineered a takeover story (no matter how legitimate) and dragged the club and it’s fans through another transfer window, wasted a great manager’s skills and vision for the club, only to pull the plug in the pursuit of pocketing another hundred million pounds worth of Premier League TV cash and has gleefully rubbed the fans noses in it once again.

He’s laughing because it’s been so bloody easy.

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