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Mike Ashley briefs media in PR move regarding Newcastle United takeover situation

3 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley is up to his usual tricks.

The Newcastle United attempting to manipulate the media message regarding the football club.

Monday seeing the club’s owner spinning the Newcastle United takeover situation / debate.

The likes of ITV, Shields Gazette and BT Sport running the same story, supplied by PA (Press Association).

Now PA don’t just make stuff up, they are a reliable source.

So for them to put the story out, they will have been briefed by someone.

Someone who in this case is obviously Mike Ashley, though no doubt one of his minions delivering their master’s message to PA.

The message / spin that the owner wants to get out is that he, Mike Ashley, isn’t to blame for anything, indeed he is the victim, if you actually believe the spin. A genuine seller who has done everything he can to expedite the sale of Newcastle United, only for all the potential buyers to fail him, leaving Ashley with a big problem that is none of his making.

The Mike Ashley message delivered via PA is that the Bellagraph Nova Group and Henry Mauriss are tyre kickers / time wasters who had passed themselves off as genuine potential buyers.

The reporting claiming that Ashley has done all that he can to keep hopes of the consortium buying Newcastle alive but the Saudi PIF led bidders have shown ‘little appetite for resolving the issues’ that prevented them pushing ahead and completing the buyout, Namely, their issues with the Premier League.

The reports sayings that little old poor ‘Mike Ashley is bracing himself’ to still be responsible for Newcastle United in the rapidly approaching season. As though he is totally powerless and can have no bearing on whether or not the club is sold or not.

That the media keep mentioning / pushing BNG and Henry Mauriss is obviously a total joke, Newcastle fans seeing these as total fantasy when it comes to being connected with buying the football club. However, the narrative is constantly put out there (including / especially by Mike Ashley and his people?) that interest in buying NUFC is limited to the Saudi backed bid and these joke ones.

Only two weeks ago The Mail reported:

‘London-based Dentons are acting as a filter for all those who express an interest in buying the club and sources claim up to 50 such enquiries have been fielded since the Saudi-led takeover collapsed two weeks ago.’

So are all of these 50 enquiries jokes as well? Maybe they are or many not but still no justification in BNG and Mauriss still being constantly mentioned to try and push the idea that this shows what a massive task it is for Mike Ashley to find a genuine buyer.

In today’s PA story (clearly via Mike Ashley’s people) they state:

‘It is understood the Ashley camp is seeking definitive answers within days, but the Magpies owner is resigning himself to yet another season of ownership having dared to believe his search for a buyer might finally be approaching a successful conclusion.

His reign currently extends to more than 13 years, a period for much of which the club has been up for sale, but remains on the shelf.

In the meantime, it is he [Mike Ashley] who will have to fund what limited transfer business head coach Steve Bruce will be able to do this summer.’

Which is where we get to the true point of the story and spin from Ashley, he is the victim who has been left holding the (unwanted) baby and now it’s he ‘who will have to fund’ the transfer activity this summer. In other words, it is the bidders not following through on a club purchase who are to blame for only free transfers and loans coming in this summer.

The classic line from today’s PR nonsense is surely about Mike Ashley ‘having dared to believe his search for a buyer might finally be approaching a successful conclusion’ enabling him to move on from Newcastle United at last.

It is old ground but needs covering yet again, Mike Ashley stated 12 years ago that fans could stop their protests (sparked by Ashley forcing Kevin Keegan out) because he promised he would sell the club as soon as possible.

If you put your house up for sale and 12 years later it still hasn’t sold, no rational person would think the blame lies with potential buyers.

Likewise, no rational person should surely think that the main / overwhelming reason why Newcastle United has not been sold, is due to problems on the buying side.

It is 100% down to the selling side why Mike Ashley still owns Newcastle United. In these 12 years he has either been only pretending to try and sell NUFC, or asking way more than it is actually worth, or a combination of the two.

Yes he looked to have hit the jackpot when somebody did at last appear who was willing to pay way more than the club is actually worth BUT the Saudi PIF were / are a total one-off, willing to pay more then the market value for their unique reasons. To use NUFC for sports washing purposes and looking at it as a more far reaching (investment on other projects in the region not just the football club) and longer-term project to deliver benefits / profits, than any other potential buyer would be doing.

Not only did Mike Ashley finally agree to sell Newcastle United because the Saudi backed bid was willing to pay more than the club is actually worth, Amanda Staveley revealed that actually when the deadline ran out on that original bid, during the wait for the Premier League, Mike Ashley actually put the price up (bearing in mind this was now in a climate of the onset of the problems caused by the virus).

The Athletic talked to Amanda Staveley after the consortium pulled their offer at the end of July and amongst what they reported then:

Ashley asked for more money after the June 26 completion deadline had expired, raising the £300 million price, although Staveley told The Athletic “that is absolutely not the issue”…’

Amanda Staveley making clear that Ashley’s further greed in raising the price wasn’t what led to the pullout and that they (the Saudis) had agreed to pay that added premium, only for the Premier League issues to halt things.

If your house still hasn’t sold after 12 years and all of the other houses in the street / area have done, it isn’t because your house has anything special (apart from the seller) stopping it being bought (unless the survey says it is going to fall into sea sometime soon etc).

Likewise, all of these countless other major clubs that have been bought and sold, control passing to new people, some of them a number of times during these past 12 years. Newcastle United is no different to all of these other clubs in that if they are priced to sell then eventually they will be sold.

There is absolutely no reason, other than Mike Ashley’s greed, as to why the only bidders showing interest in buying Newcastle United should be the super rich Saudis and joke bidders.

Common sense tells you that if Mike Ashley was as desperate to sell the club as he likes to make out, he could have sold it any number of times, if prepared to put it at a price to sell. Credible buyers of football clubs are out there, as the numerous sales / buys these past 12 years have proved.

Anyway, we get the message Mike.

Another absolutely massive risk being taken, no proper investment allowed in the NUFC squad this summer, as Ashley gambles on finding three worse teams again.

The best of it is, he (Ashley) and the media like to put it across as though Mike Ashley is being asked to fund a charity. Even if by some miracle he was putting some investment into the club to help fund signings or better facilities etc, it is he who would then benefit from that investment when it came to banking the cash from a sale.

Yes there are far more serious things happening around the world but in purely football terms, it is the Newcastle United fans who are suffering in all of this, not Mike Ashley.

Sitting there in the Miami sun, Ashley will continue to reap the significant benefits of the worldwide promotion of his retail empire via NUFC for a pittance and eventually bank hundreds of millions from the sale of the club. However, the fans are left supporting a shell of a football club that is in an absolutely shambolic state, with the owner and his people showing total disrespect to the fans, even refusing to communicate in any decent way.

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