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Opinion

Newcastle United Takeover is bang on schedule

5 months ago
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The Newcastle United takeover has nerves fraying.

Newspapers and other media hardly helping matters with all kinds of laughable angles on this story, sowing seeds of doubt now as whether or not it is actually going to happen.

After 13 years of Mike Ashley and the past 12 of them him claiming he is trying to sell the club as soon as possible, nobody can blame any Newcastle fan who is sceptical / cynical.

So many times told that this time it is going to happen, only to be yet another false dawn.

This particular Newcastle United takeover saga is different though.

If you now care to look back at the timings of how this deal has progressed and panned out, the Newcastle United Takeover is bang on schedule.

Initial preliminary talks early on this season, then as we got into the new year things escalating and of course the Wall Street Journal exclusive that threw the whole deal into the public domain.

It appears at that point the bidders were happy to make themselves known and very quickly it was then revealed that Chris Mort was in charge of the bidding side’s legal team, negotiating with Justin Barnes representing Mike Ashley.

Then with Newcastle United appearing to reach a relatively safe Premier League position, matters have progressed as how you would expect such a deal coming together, with documents filed at Companies House providing more and more jigsaw pieces, moving ever nearer final completion.

As this week comes to an end we are four weeks past the time when matters moved to the Premier League process, which we were told would take a month or so to tick boxes.

Not to make light of the subject matter of course but you have to feel that a lot of the media coverage given over to what could supposedly now stop the Newcastle United takeover, has been more to simply fill this void of a month or move of no news, than seriously suggest the deal could be blocked / stopped.

The campaigning by both Amnesty International and the widow of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has made for some very unpleasant reading when it comes to alleged human rights abuses, but whilst powerful in terms of emotions, none of it appeared to fit into what the Premier League rules say would stop a takeover happening.

Trying to make out that this NUFC takeover could be then ‘linked’ to the owner of Sheffield United was always feeble, the two Saudis concerned being cousins inside an overall picture of a very large extended family. A non-starter for me.

On the surface the alleged TV rights piracy looked maybe a bit of a goer and certainly a good story to fill newspaper columns but trying to tie all of that up to then stop a Newcastle United takeover, looks simply very optimistic for those hoping to stop the deal happening. Part of a far bigger and longer / ongoing friction between Saudi and Qatar, that was always for me more political situation than a football one.

I understand why Newcastle fans are desperate for news and completion but this month or so of radio silence is absolutely what was predicted by the odd credible person back in April, as well as many less credible people. However, the less credible ones obviously see no conflict in trying to milk the situation even more, by constantly running these ever more desperate storylines claiming they could derail the takeover.

The Premier League had to take at least a month, maybe more, because as well as doing what needs to be done, they also just as importantly have to be seen to be doing that. Never has a Premier League club takeover been given such a focus, the virus situation and no football only serving to heighten everything.

However, the ‘game’ has played out perfectly in terms of planning and coming together towards the final whistle and victory:

Preliminary talks very early in the season.

Things picking up pace in the Autumn with more serious discussions.

Into the new year and getting into the heart of the deal with negotiations.

More and more feeding into the public domain as move towards the end game with (relative) safety from relegation ruling that out as a factor to potentially pose a problem.

Then a deal agreed and a deposit paid to give exclusivity and papers / matters passed to the Premier League to complete checks before this current football season was due to end.

This is the timescale and progress for how anybody would want to carry out a PL club takeover, aiming to complete as the season ended and giving you that ideal timing to take over and have the close season to get things sorted in the first phase, to be ready for next season.

Obviously the virus situation has came along to mess up exactly when the current season will be brought to a conclusion at last.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that clearly this deal appears to have passed pretty much every milestone when it was intended to happen.

In 11 days time on Sunday 17 May, Newcastle United were scheduled to round off the Premier League season at home to new champions Liverpool.

I have a feeling that the intention was always to time the takeover to be completed next week and announced, just ahead of that game, so such a high profile match would be shown around the world and with a massive double story. Liverpool with their very first title of the Premier League era AND Newcastle United at last with ambitious new owners aiming to be up there challenging and realising this club’s potential in the very near future.

So, this past month of silence. To be honest I think I would have been really surprised and worried if we had heard anything before at least a month was up, as it wouldn’t have been expected.

An announcement next week feels very much on track as part of this carefully constructed plan and strategy, the final finishing line is in sight, it is just a case of staggering these final few steps and staying upright.

Keep the faith.

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