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Opinion

Newcastle United Takeover – A Cunning Plan

10 months ago
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Well, as the days count down to the end of the transfer window I simply can’t contain my excitement with the current situation at Newcastle United.

Head Coach Steve Bruce has said that he has a couple of ‘spinning plates’ with regards to signings, we have a clear path to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and we have a healthy points total meaning that only ten points is required to probably guarantee safety in the Premier League for another season.

Then there’s the new Newcastle United Takeover that supposedly has up to a ‘90%’ chance of happening. depending on which news source you read/believe.

So all good news then? Well no, unfortunately not. Not with Newcastle United.

As ever, the pieces of ‘positive’ news are fighting against each other in their believibility and credibility. No owner in their right mind would sanction any deals for incoming players at any sort of expense if they were selling the football club. That’s just basic common sense and if anyone believes otherwise then they are seriously deluded.

You wouldn’t spend £10,000 on a conservatory if you were in negotiations to sell your house. Also, if the club are just about safe entering the final few days of January (and the transfer window) why would owner Mike Ashley sell his cash cow now?

No, I’m afraid we’ve been down this well trodden path numerous times before under the ownership of Mike Ashley and I’m amazed that people STILL fall for it. His game is to achieve safety and roll the dice once again every summer. Once a gambler, always a gambler.

Every year it’s the same sequence of events. Pressure is put on the owner, he reacts with a takeover/fakeover story and all news outlets fall over themselves in reporting that finally Ashley is a willing seller and that the magic figure for the club has been reached, but with one caveat…any possible deal could collapse at any moment. Well duh!

A bizarre metaphor reared it’s head today.

On my day off I decided to re-watch the excellent BlackAdder Goes Forth and an exchange between General Melchett (Stephen Fry) Captain Darling (Tim McInnerny) and Captain BlackAdder (Rowan Atkinson) about their top secret plans to catch the Germans out, which jumped out and hit me as a sort of metaphor for the rinse and repeat nature of Newcastle United under the smoke and mirrors of this regime.

Here is my edited version of the exchange:

Keith Bishop:

Right Lee, we have formulated a brilliant new tactical plan to ensure that those pesky fans renew their season tickets and don’t put pressure on Mike to spend money on new players this January.

Lee Charnley:

Ah. Would this brilliant plan involve releasing information about someone buying the club in the last few weeks of the transfer window and around about the time of season ticket renewals?

Mike Ashley:

How could you possibly know that Lee? It’s classified information!

Lee Charnley:

It’s the same plan that we used last time and the many, many, MANY times before that.

Keith Bishop:

Exactly! And that is what is so brilliant about it!

It will fool those troublesome fans and throw them totally off guard!

Doing precisely what we’ve done many, many, MANY times before is exactly the last thing they’ll expect us to do this time!

It would be quite brilliant if it weren’t believed by so many. I bet the protagonists in our real life drama can’t believe their lucky stars that thousands upon thousands of Newcastle fans actually think this latest charade is actually for real.

In the meantime, Bruce The Excuse bangs on about the ‘plates’ he has spinning, surely oblivious to the fact that any players he has highlighted or earmarked for the club WON’T be sanctioned by the owner and his band of PR obsessed cohorts. He can bleat on about not bringing in players simply for the sake of it but the fact of the matter is, we are currently without a recognised, fit goal scorer for the foreseeable future and we’ve been shorn of any left back whatsoever for the rest of the season. The time to be picky with regards to transfers has long since expired.

But alas, like I said at the start, that healthy points total will probably keep the club up. It would take a total buffoon to screw things up from here. It’s akin to the scenario that John Carver was overseeing in 2015, which saw the club eventually relying on a Jonas Gutierrez goal on the last day of the season to ensure it remained in the Premier League. And look how the club treated the Argentinian.

Bruce has repeatedly put his foot in it in his relatively short time at the club so far and he was at it again recently when he said last week that after the Norwich game this weekend, that ‘hopefully’ he would see his squad have a two week break to try and rectify the injury situation and get players back fighting fit.

Ooops! For that to happen Steve, you had to beat League One side Oxford United at St James’ Park with a virtually full strength side. That’s twice we’ve played teams from the third tier and twice we’ve failed to beat them first time out, resulting in extra games we scarcely need with our injury situation. Keep an eye on them spinning plates Steve.

Still, there’s always the latest takeover to deflect attention from the incompetence of the Head Coach and the lack of intent in the transfer market.

As sure as night follows day, as soon as the end of a transfer window draws near, a Newcastle United takeover story rears it’s ugly head. This time we’re led to believe that the Saudis are involved, in a deal brokered by Amanda Staveley, who comes back into the picture. After being annoyed by her the last time, I can’t imagine Ashley being too responsive to fresh approaches.

Wait, there’s more. The prospective new owners have supposedly labelled the £350m takeover ‘Project Zebra’ and in this day of worldwide technology with SKYPE and wonderful inventions such as the telephone, Mike Ashley is winging his way back to the UK in a mass panic to sort it out and see if a deal can be struck. It’s all really exciting stuff but you can’t write this sort of fantasy and actually get away with it, surely? Steven Spielberg would refuse to film it.

To finish off, I’ll once again refer you all back to the brilliant BlackAdder Goes Forth:

“If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through”.- General Melchett.

A metaphorical line that could have been written for our out of his depth Head Coach, as well as some of our gullible fanbase and some sections of the media.

There’s a Newcastle United Takeover happening guys, this time it’s for real, honest..

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