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Newcastle United paralysed as Mike Ashley ignores Steve Bruce and blocks bidders talking to him – Report

1 year ago

An interesting update on the situation at Newcastle United and especially the situation regarding Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce.

A month ago the NUFC Head Coach spoke to Sky Sports (see below) and said he would love to get his chance when / if the Newcastle United takeover happens, though admitting he didn’t have a  clue what was happening (Steve Bruce also talked about how he aspired to be another Klopp or Guardiola…).

Now only days before the 2019/20 season restarts and still no Newcastle United takeover, it has been revealed that Steve Bruce still hasn’t got a clue.

Writing in The Athletic, the reliable George Caulkin states that Mike Ashley is still refusing to allow Steve Bruce to speak to those bidding to buy Newcastle United AND at the same time, has ignored his Head Coach. Caulkin revealing that Mike Ashley has still not had ‘a single conversation’ with Bruce ‘since the takeover went public’…

This report makes the point that whilst all clubs are going a bit into the unknown with this Premier League restart after months of no football, Newcastle United are a one-off. The club having been in a state of disarray and uncertainty before football was suspended and then to be given hope of the takeover happening, only to then suffer these nine weeks and counting of even more added uncertainty…

George Caulkin:

‘For a little while, it felt like the Premier League’s return might coincide with revolution at St James’ Park, an end to Mike Ashley’s curdled ownership and a blossoming of ambition. The reality of lockdown would have meant limited change, at least to begin with, but the mission statement prepared by Amanda Staveley’s consortium would have spoken of renewal, growth, the repairing of relationships, a push for the Champions League.

Nine weeks after Staveley’s group, which is 80 per cent funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, signed a £300 million deal with Ashley and the Premier League began its Owners’ and Directors’ Test, Tyneside has been battered by controversy and sucked into a geopolitical quagmire. If normality has been on hold for all of us during this extraordinary interlude, then Newcastle have kept pace with that limbo, tiny step by excruciating step.’

Heaped on top of all of this, the report points out that ‘Newcastle were the first among their peers to furlough their non-playing staff and are the only ones not to have acknowledged concerns about reimbursing ticket money for behind-closed-door matches, an unforgivable lack of communication, of the human touch, trailing Ashley to the end.’

George Caulkin summing up the paralysis at the club and what a precarious position Newcastle United are now in, with Mike Ashley derelict in his duty as owner: ‘Uncertainty hangs above everybody and although the team are a solid 13th in the table, the saga has begun to affect issues such as player contracts. Who makes those decisions? How do they function? Nobody quite knows what will happen next.’

The season is days away from restarting, it is just six weeks until the transfer window will open (although as Chelsea have shown, deals can be agreed now ahead of that window opening), whilst the 2020/21 Premier League season is reported to be only two and a half months away.

It is something you just don’t want to contemplate, the horror show that would be the takeover disappearing and Mike Ashley remaining in control. The absolute mess he has got the club in and these recent months during the virus crisis seeing him make everything so much worse, treating the Newcastle fans, and Steve Bruce as well apparently, with such contempt.

With Newcastle United, Mike Ashley has just moved week to week, month to month, season to season, refusing to allow any kind of long-term plan to be put in place to allow the club to progress.

To not be putting every effort into contingency plans in case the NUFC takeover doesn’t take place, is just yet further evidence of what we have seen from Mike Ashley these past 13 years.

(The Guardian have also reported today on the paralysis at St James Park, stating: ‘Steve Bruce’s team are in limbo. Many of the club’s backroom staff, ticket-office personnel included, remain furloughed after Ashley apparently left the determination of their futures to the prospective new owners.)

Steve Bruce speaking to Sky Sports, asked about the imminent Newcastle United takeover – 21 May 2020:

“We all aspire in management, we all aspire to be Pep [Guardiola], Jurgen [Klopp]…

“These great managers who have been a breath of fresh air to football.

“Jurgen Klopp coming into this country, you just have to applaud him for his tactics and the way Liverpool play.

“If it [the takeover] is good for Newcastle, and the club are going to try to compete with these teams, to be part of it would be great.

“I would love to see it and I’d love to be part of it.

“I hope it’s where it goes, but in the meantime I’ll just crack on, wait, roll my sleeves up and get on with trying to get some results to try and get the club going forward.

“If that happens for Newcastle in the future, then great – I’d be delighted.

“You do get labelled in the game, and that’s why I enjoyed my time managing in the Championship. I’d back myself against most people in that division.

“But to be in a position where you’re actually challenging, and you have a good enough team as Newcastle did in 1995 and under Sir Bobby Robson as well, then it would be wonderful.

“I’d back myself, of course I would.

“Management, whether you’re managing in the lower division or you’re right at the top, it’s about getting the best out of what you’ve got. And if you can do that, I’d back myself to have a crack at it.

“I’d be confident that I’d be able to do it.

“Whether that’s ever going to be the case, who knows?”


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