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‘100% confident takeover will happen, as far as I’m concerned Mike Ashley has already left the building’

4 months ago
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The Newcastle United takeover, football suspended, football now returning, Mike Ashley actions (and inactions), dealing with the virus situation in general, playing matches behind closed doors.

All subjects that as a Newcastle United fan you have had to deal with in recent months.

Ahead of the Magpies returning to competitive action, we have asked some regular and irregular contributors to The Mag, to answer some varying sets of questions relating to themselves and NUFC.

Next up now is Travis Bickle.

How confident are you, as a percentage, that the NUFC takeover will happen?

100%

If the takeover didn’t happen and the 2020/21 season kicked off with Mike Ashley still owning the club, what would be your position as a fan?

I don’t think there is any realistic chance that will happen. As far as I’m concerned Mike Ashley has already left the building.

Do you feel this takeover is the pivotal moment for Newcastle United, that whichever way it goes will dictate the future of the club for a long long time?

Yes. It’s pretty clear that it is.

Do you think the Newcastle United takeover will happen?

Yes. There has been a delay, and a lot of noise – but I haven’t seen anything which makes it remotely likely that the Premier League will want to take on the Saudi sovereign investment fund.

The most likely thing to me by far seems to be that the Premier League will look to cover their backs by being as meticulous as they can be; and that they will look to use this period (where they have a bit of leverage) to try to get the Saudis to use their muscle to sort out any broadcasting issues.

But ultimately they will give the green light.

Are you in favour of the Saudi PIF takeover of Newcastle United?

Yes. Like (I think) most NUFC fans, I’d support a takeover by Joe Stalin, Genghis Khan and the Child-catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang if it was going to get rid of the present incumbent.

With hindsight, do you think Premier League football was suspended at the correct time in mid-March, or should it have happened earlier, or maybe you think later…?

I don’t see it could have been done much differently to be fair. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The truth is nobody knew what on earth to do – I think everyone was just having to fly by the seat of their pants, so I don’t think it’s right to be too critical.

How would you describe the impact of these last three or four months on yourself?
Personally, it has been fine.

For my business it has been difficult – if it hadn’t been for the government grant we would have gone bust.

To be truthful, I’m more worried about the three or four months ahead than the ones just gone, as the economic damage has only just started to unfold. But that’s just my personal perspective.

Is it the right decision to complete the 2019/20 season?

Yes – I don’t really see that there was any realistic alternative.

Newcastle win the FA Cup, their first domestic trophy in 65 years, and there isn’t a single Newcastle fan there to see it happen. Discuss.

I don’t think there was any alternative but to complete the Premier League season – as otherwise there would have been all sorts of problems with promotion and relegation, and with TV contracts, but I don’t think that was the case with the FA Cup.

My view is that the cup this season should have been voided.

The cup is about glory – it’s about a full house at Wembley. I’ve dreamed all my life about seeing a Newcastle captain lift the FA Cup. I would rather keep my dream than have it spoiled by seeing Newcastle win the cup in a cavernous, echoing Wembley Stadium.

The FA Cup this season is, to my mind, completely pointless. It feels like a really bizarre thing to say but I sincerely hope Man City knock us out.

Do you think at least a small percentage of fans should have been allowed into games when the Premier League resumes?

No – it wouldn’t be manageable. Better to just get this season done with and out the way as simply as possible, and do whatever is possible, to get things in as good a state as possible for next season.

What would be your best guess of month (and year!) when you think some fans will be allowed back into Premier League stadiums? Also, when you think full capacity crowds will be allowed?

That is the difficult one.

If the number of cases continues to go down, and the social distancing guidelines change from 2 metres to say 1 metre, then you can imagine grounds being half full. But what is a half-full SJP with everybody wearing a face mask really going to be like?

As long as there is any form of social distancing in place there is no way that 52,000 people are going to be able to cram into the ground, screaming and shouting. Unless things get back to normal very quickly, I can see next season being spoiled as well.

If the takeover happens, what ideally should happen with each of these four…

Steve Bruce

I think he should get a pat on the back for being either very good or very lucky (the latter in my view), and a nice healthy pay-off on his way out the door.

Matty Longstaff

I like to see as many local lads in the team as possible – so I’d like to see him stay. But from what I’ve seen I do wonder if he’s being led up the garden path by his agent.

Lee Charnley

I’d like to see him tarred and feathered in truth. But perhaps that’s a little too much to hope for.

Andy Carroll

I don’t see any problem in having him around if it’s on a pay-as-you-play basis. When he’s fit, and up-for-it he would be well worth having.

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