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Newcastle United owners – Now made public how much notice they had that deal was happening

5 days ago
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There is a lot of debate about how much lead up time the new Newcastle United owners had, in advance of sweeping into St James Park on Thursday 7 October.

The NUFC takeover saga had of course been on the go for almost two years overall but when it came to the crunch last week, just how much notice did Amanda Staveley and the rest of the consortium have, that the green light was now flashing?

There have been a lot of in the know (ITK) fans and indeed media, amusingly claiming that they had far longer prior knowledge, that they ‘knew’ the consortium had been alerted some time ago (a matter of weeks, months…depending on who you read) that the takeover was now going to go ahead.

The intimation being that the new Newcastle United owners will have had plenty of time then to have planned what their first moves will be, once they actually had the keys to St James Park in their hands.

So what is the truth then?

Did Amanda Staveley and her takeover partners have plenty of time to prepare, or were they literally catapulted into St James Park last week with minimal notice and are now having to very quickly make plans on the run?

Luke Edwards of The Telegraph via Twitter – 10 October 2021:

“People saying they knew takeover was going to happen are lying, consortium had no idea until this time last week.

“CAT case had nothing to do with it.

“Nobody was ITK [In The Know].

“Saudis made it happen by solving piracy issue in private.

“None of this matters. It’s happened.

“Enjoy that.”

So is the man from The Telegraph on the money, or is he in this case simply yet another that is an ITW chancer?

I suppose what we know for sure is that we can rule out this going way back.

Rafa Benitez took the Everton job on 30 June 2021 and that was after a considerable lead up time where he was having talks with the blue scousers, so plenty of opportunity for Amanda Staveley to tip Rafa the wink that the Newcastle takeover was at last going to happen.

I think quite clearly that Rafa Benitez was originally first choice for the consortium and indeed Rafa has made that clear since leaving Newcastle 27 months ago.

However, whilst I have no doubt that Rafa would have came to Newcastle ahead of Everton, he is a man of honour who will respect his contract (unlike certain other managers (head coaches!) you could mention) and he clearly looks settled at Goodison now and is doing a great job in difficult initial circumstances.

Greg O’Keeffe who writes about Everton for The Athletic – 11 October 2021:

“Given Everton’s recent misfortune with managers leaving when wealthier former clubs flutter their eyelashes, it’s understandable.

“But in this case, I don’t think there’s any need to worry.

“Benitez is a loyal man. He is loving being back in his adopted home area of Merseyside and remains excited about the potential to move Everton forward under Farhad Moshiri and with the new stadium on the horizon.

“As much as he undoubtedly retains huge affection for Newcastle, the city and that club’s supporters, I’d be very surprised if he scarpered any time soon.”

So what about in the weeks leading up to the Newcastle United owners finally coming in last Thursday (7 October), did they have at least a few weeks notice?

I don’t think so.

Wednesday 29 September 2021:

Only eight days before the new Newcastle United owners got the keys to St James Park, the Competition Appeal Tribunal jurisdiction hearing went ahead.

Daniel Jowell QC was representing Mike Ashley (through his holding company St James’ Holdings’ Ltd (SJHL)) and Jowell said that Mike Ashley was claiming damages because Ashley’s losses had been “substantial and exceed £10m” in relation to what he (Ashley) would have banked from a successful sale to the Saudis, compared to what he might otherwise get from other credible buyers who had came forward in the meantime.

You then have to tie that in with what then Mike Ashley said to The Sun on Thursday when the takeover then did actually happen – 7 October 2021:

“I would like it to be known that I received a higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted. It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case. But I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would deliver the best for Newcastle United.”

Quite clearly, both things cannot be true. Either the Saudi deal was the best offer Ashley had received, as his QC said on 29 September, or other bidders had offered more, as Mike Ashley claimed after the takeover had actually happened.

We can all guess at what was the truth BUT what I think is 100% clear, is that when Mike Ashley’s QC 12 days ago said what he did, Ashley clearly had no idea that only eight days later he would have sold the club and pocketed his £305m.

So I think fair to say that along with Mike Ashley, the new Newcastle United owners had only a week’s notice or less, that they were suddenly going to get the deal done.

What I think we have to accept is that the new owners have now been thrown into this and they haven’t had the chance to put the ducks in a row, to line up appointments of key staff and the initial decisions / moves that are needed, to start and get Newcastle United heading in the right direction again.

We are all excited and every reason to feel that way, but at the same time, patience is needed in giving the new Newcastle United owners the time to do their thing.

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