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Opinion

New Newcastle United takeover bid is seriously lacking – Straining credibility

2 weeks ago
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Wednesday morning brought news of a ‘new’ £350m Newcastle United takeover bid.

Mike Ashley having received that £350m offer for the football club from American businessman Henry Mauriss – According to Sky Sports, The Mail, The Sun, The Chronicle, The Telegraph and many others.

This Newcastle United takeover report was released across the media at the same time, so the information / claim had clearly been supplied by someone, with the news embargoed so it had maximum effect when released at the same time.

The logical thing would be for the story to have come from Henry Mauriss or those around him, although plenty of Newcastle fans were happy to believe this was Mike Ashley at play yet again. Theories that Ashley was doing this to prompt the Saudis, Mauriss or others already with an active interest in buying NUFC to get a move on, to flush out other potential bidders, or any number of other possible reasons.

Embarrassingly some journalists made out that it was an exclusive, that they had got the story from their ‘sources, well those ‘sources’ had miraculously being discovered by the entire media at the same time.

Somebody has clearly briefed them all but as is always the case with protecting their ‘sources’, nobody is saying where this latest Newcastle United takeover story was coming from.

It isn’t a ‘new’ story anyway, unless something has actually progressed.

At the end of April 2020,  The Mirror claimed that Henry Mauriss was heading up a rival bid to the Saudis, reporting that he wanted to copy the model the American owners at Liverpool have used.

Mauriss made his initial money via Credit America Corporation (credit card and finance business ) which he sold in 2010 and now runs ClearTV, which claims to be one of America’s “fastest growing away-from-home television content ­providers”, ClearTV is a media company ­operating television network platforms serving airports as well as hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Back in April, The Mirror quoted ‘A source close to Mauriss’ saying:

“He has studied the way his fellow countrymen Werner and Henry have successfully rejuvenated ­Liverpool and made them one of the world’s dominant forces.

“There is the promise of ­significant investment not only in the squad but also the club’s academy. It’s a fantastic business plan.

“The investor has seen the way Liverpool’s owners have harnessed themselves with the local community and made it a team effort with everyone pulling in the same ­direction.

“Newcastle have a huge and loyal support. It’s a club with massive potential.”

The Mirror report claimed back in April that this Henry Mauriss led bid was ‘ready and willing’ to step in, if the Saudi one doesn’t happen.

The report also claimed that Mike Ashley was in talks with Mauriss even before the Saudi approach was made, which makes you wonder then why things didn’t progress with this claimed American bid.

Whilst on top of that, The Mirror said in April that Henry Mauriss ‘and his backers’ have offered Ashley £50m more than the Saudis. If they were willing to pay £350m why didn’t Mike Ashley accept that and if this £350m offer had been made only recently, why offer £50m more when the only chance of still buying the club would be if the Saudis are blocked from paying £300m?

It is all a little strange that whilst next to no other media did any serious follow up coverage after that initial Mirror story in April, after yesterday morning’s headlines of a £350m bid having been made, many journalists attempted to back up their story by claiming they had knowledge of this Henry Mauriss rival takeover attempt bubbling away / progressing in the background. All seems a little dubious when they with very rare exceptions had given no coverage, or even mention in many cases, of Mauriss as a serious bidder. Now they had the safety of the (press) pack doing the same, it was all change of course.

The lazy back-up writing all pretty much centres on the same thing. The idea that Henry Mauriss intends to do what FSG did at Liverpool.

So is this in any way credible…?

Before FSG bought Liverpool, for a decade they had already owned and ran Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

They also operate Fenway Sports Management which in turn owns the Salem Red Sox of the Class A Carolina League, a minor league baseball franchise. As well as owning over 80% of the New England Sports Network (NESN). plus competing in NASCAR racing with Roush Fenway Racing.

Before buying Liverpool, FSG had numerous business interests in sport and the individuals were very recognisable business people.

Then we have Henry Mauriss.

No doubt he is richer than most of us but some newspapers have referred to him as the ‘billionaire’ Henry Mauriss, yet provide zero evidence of that.

In this technology age, whether Newcastle are linked with a player or new owner, we are straight online googling who they are.

I know it isn’t a total clincher but Henry Mauriss hasn’t even got his own Wiki page.

In fact, apart from the fact that he sold his credit card linked business in 2010 and owns / operates this Clear TV business, there is next to nothing about him that you can find.

All kinds of online media will always provide estimated fortunes of the very rich and explain at least to an extent how they came to that estimated fortune figure. With Mauriss though, there is nothing.

The Mirror story back in April did mention ‘Henry Mauriss and his backers’ in passing and yet I haven’t seen a single journalist writing anything about who these (mythical?) backers are, or even any sign that any journalist has even bothered to investigate and find out whether these backers are for real, or even whether Henry Mauriss is for real when it comes to this supposed Newcastle United takeover bid.

Instead it is just lazy claims of ‘US billionaire’, ‘TV mogul’, ‘Following the FSG Liverpool model’….and so on.

With the Saudi PIF bidders having agreed a deal with Mike Ashley and only now awaiting Premier League approval, it would appear from the outside that the Saudi bid would need to fail, before any other offer could be considered by Mike Ashley.

To think that Henry Mauriss would / could be that alternative successful bidder for Newcastle United takes some believing, in fact to believe that I think it would be on a similar level to honestly thinking that Mike Ashley cares anything for NUFC, the fans or our city.

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