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Opinion

Mark Lawrenson comparing and contrasting the Newcastle United and Manchester City takeovers

4 months ago
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Mark Lawrenson has been looking at respective takeovers at Manchester City and Newcastle United.

The player turned pundit comparing and contrasting the situations at the two clubs.

It was August 2008 when Sheikh Mansour made his move on Manchester City, then over 13 years later we saw the Saudi PIF dominated consortium finally get the keys to St James Park off Mike Ashley.

Mark Lawrenson thinks ‘it is going to be quite a while’ before Newcastle United under the new owners reach the level that Manchester City are at.

However, he does believe that with stage one the NUFC owners will be successful in keeping the club in the Premier League this season, giving them a platform to then move forward next season in the top tier.

Mark Lawrenson thinks Manchester City had better players back in 2008 when they were taken over, than Newcastle United had in October 2022 when the NUFC takeover happened.

That isn’t the only adventure Man City had back in 2008, compared to the situation the new Newcastle United owners inherited.

The 2007/08 season had seen around £50m spent on the Man City squad, players such as Petrov, Corluka and Elano brought in. They finished ninth on 55 points in that final season before the Sheikh Mansour takeover.

Then whilst it was later on in the summer 2008 transfer window when Sheikh Mansour came in, it still then saw some £53m more spent on Robinho, Kompany, Wright-Phillips and Zabaleta, this on top of the £23m that had already been spent on Tal Ben Ahaim and Jo earlier in that summer 2008 window.

Sheikh Mansour then financed another £46m spend in the 2009 January window, halfway through his first season of ownership, with Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Nigel de Jong and Craig Bellamy coming in.

So despite £50m spent on players the season before and finishing ninth on 55 points, then spending another £122m that 2008/09 season, in the first season (2008/09) after takeover, Man City actually finished one place (10th) and fifth points (50) below what they had done in the season before takeover!

Contrast this with in his entire last year and two transfer windows, Mike Ashley only allowed the signing of one player, Joe Willock, PLUS the new NUFC owners didn’t take over until a couple of months into the season and the team in a relegation place already and three months until they could buy anybody…what a massive mess to sort out!

Remember, we are now talking 13/14 years ago now when £122m was spent in that first Sheikh Mansour season, what would that be the equivalent of these days taking into account football transfer level inflation, maybe £300m???

Newcastle’s new owners have found themselves having to fire fight and try to prevent the relegation that Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce have laid the foundations for, committing to some £85m plus add-ons when signing five players.

Nobody thinks this is going to be easy BUT under Ashley and Bruce it would have been certain relegation.

The future is bright at Newcastle United and the new owners have already made clear their intentions with transfer bids that were both successful and unsuccessful in January 2022, step one to avoid relegation and only then can we worry about chasing / emulating Manchester City.

After finishing 10th in the first season after takeover, Manchester City then went on to finish fifth, third and first in the Premier League in their next three seasons, then the next ten seasons seeing them never leaving the top four and claiming five more PL titles (if you include the one we are currently in).

Mark Lawrenson comparing and contrasting the Newcastle United and Manchester City takeovers, speaking to Free Super Tips:

“I think it’s going to be quite a while before Newcastle reach those levels [like at Manchester City]

“When City were taken over, they had better players than what Newcastle have now, and it took them long enough to be where they are now.

“I think you’re talking five plus years at least and that’s if they can get the players in they want.

“It’s alright having that money, but if you’re a top player, do you want to go to Newcastle or do you want to go to City, Liverpool or Chelsea?

“When City started, it was only Chelsea who had the same amount of money to compete, and it wasn’t as difficult.

“The thing for Newcastle is to obviously stay up this season and I think with the signings they’ve made; they might just do it.”

“It’s the start of a long road.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world if they did go down because it would just delay plans for another year.

“You then find out about the characters of the players in the Championship, in a league they should walk if they get relegated.”

“I just have the feeling that they’ll be ok, it’s a mad scramble down there, but they’ve started to improve, signed some new players, so I think they’ll escape.”

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