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Opinion

Limbo inflicted upon Newcastle United by the Premier League is hugely damaging

5 months ago
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It is easy to believe in curses when supporting Newcastle United.

The usual rule over the years: if anything can go wrong, it often does.

Perhaps more so in the turbulent time that Mike Ashley has been the custodian of this great footballing institution.

When the news suddenly broke way back in March that our much-maligned owner had actually agreed a deal with PCP and the Saudis, there was a palpable sense of euphoria. Our Berlin Wall moment was close. A Newcastle United takeover was set to happen.

Then came a pause. A moment of reflection that it wasn’t done yet.

What remained was the process of the buyers getting through the Premier League’s owners and directors test. Some controversial issues for sure, but, we are constantly told, nothing that would derail a deal.

So the waiting began. The general rule of thumb is that the tests take two to four weeks (maybe up to six weeks) and started on or around April 14. Some say April 9, but with that being the day before the Easter weekend it’s fair to assume not much got done on that particular date.

I accepted that four weeks needed to pass before even a single question could be asked. The fact that we’re in lockdown as this plays out has made it feel almost surreal.

As we sailed through weeks five and six a game in the media was ramping up, claim and counter claim. The deal veering from ‘in doubt’ to ‘imminent’. Most briefings appear to be coming from the buyer’s side. An alarm bell? Maybe.

Now we’re through week seven and into an eighth week of this farce. It’s actually managed to go from an exciting time to a complete and utter nightmare.

Only at Newcastle United could we finally get Mike Ashley into the departure lounge, to then be hit with a wall of silence from the Premier League bosses. It’s like a marathon runner’s legs starting to buckle down the home straight when the winning line is in sight. Or the end of the Italian Job when Michael Caine is on that bus teetering on the edge of the cliff.

Mike Ashley is famous for his silences when the club has been in crisis, and yet, ironically, it’s the elite league’s governors who are now inflicting this on Newcastle supporters. You really couldn’t make it up.

The clock is ticking. Fans need an answer over season ticket (and individual tickets) money – they can’t get it.

One of our best prospects, Matty Longstaff, is reportedly close to agreeing a better paid deal with an Italian club – there can’t be any chance of breaking that impasse without new owners.

This limbo – inflicted upon us by the Premier League lot – is hugely damaging.

The ownership of a football club is the most fundamental thing to its success. At stake is the future of Newcastle United. A new dawn or more of the same old same old?

The critics of this piece will say ‘be patient, we’re in a pandemic and they have to deal with Project Restart’. I get that.

However, it cannot be beyond the wit of the Premier League to sign off on this after two months of it sitting in their in-tray.

To quote the great Chronicle scribe John Gibson: ‘the time has come to make a decision’.

I couldn’t agree more. We need an answer and it needs to be very soon. Fans are suffering and they deserve better than this.

Or is that famous Newcastle curse about to deliver its must gut wrenching of blows?

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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