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Skrevet av Emne: Newcastle til salgs  (Lest 73357 ganger)

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Anders

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« Svar #1020 på: 27. Sep. 2019, 00:13 »
Sitat fra: Craig Hope - Daily Mail
Exclusive: Peter Kenyon launches new £300m bid to buy NUFC with US-based investors GACP Sports. Offer has gone in, awaiting Mike Ashley response. 46-page brochure details vision for club & structure of deal. Full details here from @MattHughesDM


Nei, jeg tror ikke på det! Og det kommer garantert ikke til å bli godkjent! 300m over 3 år, 100+ nå med en gang. Bruce skal visstnok være høyaktuell for å fortsette som manager.

Ashley har sagt at hvis et oppkjøp blir gjort, kommer det ikke til å lekke ut noe før klubben da er solgt. Skjønner ikke hva Kenyon tjener på å drite seg ut igjen.
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Eriksen

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« Svar #1021 på: 27. Sep. 2019, 13:34 »
PR kanskje? Media koser seg hvertfall.
"If Newcastle finish in the bottom three, they will get relegated."

- Michael Owen

Geordie

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« Svar #1022 på: 27. Sep. 2019, 15:45 »
Den brosjyren som er sendt ut fra Kenyon (?), virker å være klipp og lim fra tidligere. Snakker om Steve Bruce sine bragder i Europa (Rafa?), gamle PL-logoer, samt flere av spillerne som er avbildet er borte, som Ayoze og Rondon.


« Siste redigering: 27. Sep. 2019, 15:49 av Geordie »
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Fluffy

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« Svar #1023 på: 27. Sep. 2019, 16:18 »
Trodde vi skulle nærmere januar før dette blusset opp igjen. Hvor mange ganger skal det ropes ulv ulv? Tidenes runddans dette..

Thomas

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« Svar #1024 på: 30. Sep. 2019, 08:56 »
Sitat fra: Craig Hope - Daily Mail
Exclusive: Peter Kenyon launches new £300m bid to buy NUFC with US-based investors GACP Sports. Offer has gone in, awaiting Mike Ashley response. 46-page brochure details vision for club & structure of deal. Full details here from @MattHughesDM


Nei, jeg tror ikke på det! Og det kommer garantert ikke til å bli godkjent! 300m over 3 år, 100+ nå med en gang. Bruce skal visstnok være høyaktuell for å fortsette som manager.

Ashley har sagt at hvis et oppkjøp blir gjort, kommer det ikke til å lekke ut noe før klubben da er solgt. Skjønner ikke hva Kenyon tjener på å drite seg ut igjen.

Så fremt Kenyon ikke har en rik mann i ryggen hjelper dette lite. Vi trenger tilføring av kapital asap slik at vi er i stand til å gjøre de nødvendige grep til at vi holder oss i ligaen.

Geordie

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« Svar #1025 på: 30. Sep. 2019, 10:16 »
Vi hadde en mulighet i sommer, med ny eier og Rafa eller en annen kapabel manager på plass. Med mindre Steve Bruce plutselig skulle klare å få litt fasong på dette laget, så ligger vi klistra i sumpa til jul. Tviler på det finnes en eneste investor der ute som er interessert i å ta over klubben da.

Og uten ny eier, så er denne klubben fucked! Ashley og Charnley kommer ikke til å få denne skuta på rett kjøl noen gang.
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Andy35

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« Svar #1026 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 16:33 »
Ashley kommer ikke til å selge nå heller. Bare å glemme. Han er fornøyd han vettu hvordan det har gått. Han driter i hvordan laget gjør det. Han bryr seg ikke om noe. eneste han ønsker er å ødelegge denne klubben. Hadde han ikke villet det så hadde han gjort noe med det, pluss han hadde solgt klubben også...

Han har full tillitt til Bruce selvom resultatene er dårlige.


Ashley elsker dette her... Hadde vi fått til resultater bedre og ligget høyre så hadde han blitt skuffet...


Men ja det eneste som kan redde klubben fra nedrykk nå er en ny eier, om det ikke skjer så kommer vi til å rykke ned...

Vi har får dårlige spillere og det er spillere som ikke spiller med hjertet  klubben... Hayden dårlig spiller, shelvey skuffer men mer en god nok. Ingen av newcastlespillerne er gode nok får topp 6 klubber eller topp 10....

Rudi

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« Svar #1027 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 16:53 »
Kenyon har jo ikke nåla i veggen å kjøpe for, men jeg tipper faktisk at hvis han hadde greid å hoste opp £300m nå så hadde Ashley solgt. Ashley ser jo at dette går mot nedrykk, og veien opp ser virkelig ikke like klar ut nå som under Benitez.

Anders

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« Svar #1028 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 17:33 »
Følgende post tar utgangspunkt i at vi ikke blir solgt denne gangen heller....... (Selv om jeg tror på ryktene om at Kenyon er inne i bildet igjen).

Hva tror dere skjer om/når vi rykker ned i mai?
Jeg tipper Ashley bruker en god del penger igjen, som de to foregående gangene.
Men det store spørsmålet er egentlig; hva skjer på eiersiden hvis vi ikke rykker rett opp igjen da? Da må vi nok kvitte oss med en del spillere, og balansere bøkene som det så pent heter.

Er dette noe som vil tale for eller i mot at Ashley da selger? Klubben vil jo ikke være verdt i nærheten av det han ber om nå (muligens 1/3 av prisen?). Tror folk at han da minimerer tapet, og selger hvis vi er en middelhavsfarer i Championship? Eller kommer han til å holde på klubben i håp om at vi klarer å rykke opp igjen?
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Geordie

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« Svar #1029 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 17:57 »
Da selges alt som selges kan (utenom klubben), og voila, inn kommer Neil Warnock.

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/11358416/neil-warnock-wins-record-eighth-promotion-with-cardiff

Tror faktisk Big Sam hadde tatt jobben og, får han nok pund i lønningsposen. Da hadde han lett oversett at han fikk sparken av Ashley for 10-12 år siden.
« Siste redigering: 01. Okt. 2019, 18:01 av Geordie »
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Pontare

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« Svar #1030 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 18:08 »
Følgende post tar utgangspunkt i at vi ikke blir solgt denne gangen heller....... (Selv om jeg tror på ryktene om at Kenyon er inne i bildet igjen).

Hva tror dere skjer om/når vi rykker ned i mai?

Sykt vanskelig å si. Jeg hadde virkelig forventet at Ashley tok de pengene han kunne få i sommer, jeg klarer ikke å skjønne hvorfor han vil sitte med risikoen for at klubben rykker ned og nedgangen i verdi det fører til for klubben. Jeg har helt gitt opp å prøve å skjønne hva Ashley tenker for det gir ikke mening.

Fluffy

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« Svar #1031 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 18:47 »
Støtter meg til siste setning over. Problemet med dette salget er jo i grunnen ikke at Ashley ikke selger. Problemet er jo at alle som viser interesse ikke har noen plan for hvordan de skal skaffe pengene. Ashley vil ha de £300m pluss/minus for klubben. Da selger han ikke i CS hvor prisen vil falle dramatisk. Om noen viser seriøs interesse for nufc i PL så selger han det er jeg rimelig sikker på. Han ønsker å selge klubben de sier de fleste kilder.

Geordie

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« Svar #1032 på: 01. Okt. 2019, 19:51 »
Problemet, slik jeg ser det, er at Ashley driver klubben så katastrofalt dårlig at ingen er villige til å betale 300 millioner pund. Hadde Newcastle vært en stabil middelhavsfarer +/- 10. plass, hadde klubben blitt solgt på et blunk for 3-400 millioner, kanskje mer.

Og her støtter jeg meg på resten, hvorfor lar ikke Ashley fotballfaglige folk drive klubben og gjøre nettopp det, stabilisere klubben? Tror jeg fansen hadde vært passe fornøyd også. Vinn, vinn for alle. Men, neida. Ansett den ene ubrukelige klovnen etter det andre, og svi av millioner av pund på muligens talentfulle spillere som aldri slår til under de bedritne omstendighetene med Bruce, McClaren, Pardew og Kinnear. Jeg gremmes....
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« Svar #1033 på: 02. Okt. 2019, 15:27 »
Problemet, slik jeg ser det, er at Ashley driver klubben så katastrofalt dårlig at ingen er villige til å betale 300 millioner pund. Hadde Newcastle vært en stabil middelhavsfarer +/- 10. plass, hadde klubben blitt solgt på et blunk for 3-400 millioner, kanskje mer.
Jeg tror ikke dette stemmer. Everton ble priset til £175 millioner da Farhad Moshiri økte sin eierandel i klubben for to år siden. Det er tydeligvis ikke mange kjøpere som tenker at Newcastle er verdt dobbelt så mye.

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« Svar #1034 på: 02. Okt. 2019, 15:42 »
LANG Artikkel i the Athletic i dag

Why has Mike Ashley failed to sell Newcastle United?

It took only 20 minutes for the travelling support to chant “Get out of our club” at the King Power Stadium on Sunday. By the time Leicester City’s fifth goal went in, anti-Mike Ashley songs had been sung repeatedly and passionately.

The feeling among Newcastle United’s supporters is almost universal — they want Ashley to depart and they desperately desire a new owner to replace him.

More than 12 years have passed since Ashley bought the club in the summer of 2007 and, for the vast majority of that time, he has, either officially or unofficially, declared a willingness to sell. However, almost two years after placing Newcastle on the market for a third time, the club remains his.

Since Ashley first arrived on Tyneside, more than half of the current top-flight clubs have changed ownership or seen outside investment, including the likes of Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool.

Back on October 16, 2017, when Newcastle was placed back on to the open market, an official club statement declared that, “Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.” The implicit message was that such a positive outlook was not possible under Ashley’s ownership.

In the almost 24 months since, Newcastle fans’ hopes have been intermittently raised as various takeover sagas have flared up, only to fizzle out.

Alarmingly, in an interview with the Daily Mail in July, Ashley, while describing himself as a “negative” to Newcastle, admitted that his “new mental state” was that he “could own this football club for ever.”

The fans used to be excited whenever a takeover rumour surfaced, but they have become wearied by a number of false dawns. Under Ashley, the club have shrunk from top-four contenders to a team battling relegation. They have twice slipped into the Championship and are now 19th after another miserable start to a Premier League season.

The question that remains is if Ashley is so keen to sell Newcastle, why has he failed to do so?

In July 2017, Ashley told the High Court that he is the “last person to know” about what happens at Newcastle. “They are really not interested in my opinion,” Ashley insisted as he portrayed himself as a silent owner who does not involve himself in key decisions at St James’ Park.

History, and well-placed sources, suggest otherwise.

Although the day-to-day running of the club is left to managing director Lee Charnley, all significant financial decisions are ratified by the owner. Sometimes directly, and other times via his so-called “fixer,” Justin Barnes.

Although he is not employed by the club, Barnes has been an influential presence behind the scenes for almost three years now, even if a fan forum was told in September 2018 that he “does not have decision-making powers.” The perception from those with knowledge of Barnes’ role claim that part of his brief is to ensure the club is primed to be sold. Ashley wants Newcastle to be self-sufficient regardless, but the theory is that the club is more attractive to potential buyers if the finances are kept under control.

One thing Barnes identified early on was the need to differentiate genuine bidders from potential “tyre kickers” — essentially those who are not in a realistic position to buy Newcastle.


Barnes, Ashley and Charnley watch a game in September last year (photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
At the forum meeting, it was confirmed that Newcastle remained for sale and that a “very clear and reasonable process for individuals or groups who expressed an interest in purchasing the club” had been put in place. This robust internal due-diligence stage has led to some interested parties being discouraged from advancing further.

Some have progressed past this stage, however. Numerous non-disclosure agreements have been signed with groups who have an expressed an interest. None of them has yet resulted in a takeover.

One of the reported prerequisites that has previously been insisted upon was that interested parties buy an executive box at St James’ Park before negotiations could begin. Now, though, secrecy is being demanded during talks after a series of media stories about potential takeovers. Those close to Ashley believe anyone who publicises their interest is either using the club to increase their own profile, or is attempting to drive the price down.

Even with a supposed “robust” vetting process in place, Ashley has been an unsuccessful seller so far, though both the owner and managing director insist that Newcastle should be an attractive proposition because it is a “very well-run club.” There has certainly been significant interest, but a takeover has never materialised.

Club sources are adamant there has never been a credible offer, something which many of the parties who have tried to purchase Newcastle dispute.

Martin Samuel, the journalist who interviewed Ashley in July, claims that: “If you want to buy Newcastle, you can phone him (Ashley) up and have Newcastle by the afternoon.” A senior source echoes that view, insisting that “doing a deal with Mike would be the easy bit” — and that how any new custodian would then take the club forward is the “difficult part.”

But those who have had dealings with Ashley, both inside and outside of football, dispute that. His stubbornness is something that is repeatedly cited, while some suggest that the parameters can shift just as it seems as if a deal is close.

Whether buying Newcastle would be “easy” is also questionable.

The HM Revenue & Customs investigation into suspected tax fraud in football — Newcastle were raided in April 2017 — continues to complicate matters. Some sources claim that, in the event HMRC do present a case, who would potentially be liable for that — Ashley or the new owner — is not easily resolved.

Newcastle’s retail operations are also run by Ashley’s firm, Sports Direct. The club insist all revenue from the club store goes directly to Newcastle and not to Ashley’s company.

Whether a new owner would want to retain that relationship is something that must be discussed before a deal is concluded. Whether Sports Direct advertising would remain around the ground, be it temporarily or permanently, after a transfer of ownership is also something that senior sources state would be decided during negotiations.

The club’s latest accounts revealed that Sports Direct will pay £2 million for that advertising space in 2019-20, having remunerated Newcastle £1 million last season. However, the club also insist that only non-allocated hoardings are used for advertising Ashley’s firm and “that the arrangement can be terminated immediately if another company is willing to pay more on a fair commercial basis.”

A process is in place for interested parties to buy Newcastle, but as of yet it has not resulted in a sale.

Ashley bought Newcastle from Sir John Hall and Freddy Shepherd for a combined £134 million before loaning the club £111 million, interest free, to cover debts.

The reported asking price for Newcastle has fluctuated widely over the past two years, but sources indicate that Ashley would “start listening” to bids of more than £300 million. One source believes he would ideally like to recoup between £340 million and £350 million, but others insist he would accept a lower figure. What is clear is that Ashley’s asking price also covers his loan into the club, so any purchaser would be getting Newcastle virtually debt-free.

Debate has raged as to whether Ashley’s price is simply too high, given that nobody has met the figure. With investment in the training ground, stadium and transfers likely to be factored in by potential new owners, Ashley’s asking price is only part of the financial calculation suitors need to consider.

“It’s as simple as nobody has been prepared to match his valuation,” Kieran Maguire, who is a lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool, told The Athletic when asked why he thinks Newcastle have not been sold. “It’s a bit like putting a house up on the market and not being prepared to wriggle on it when the rest of the market thinks it’s over-priced.”

Maguire acknowledges that “trying to work out the true value of a club is notoriously difficult” but, given that Newcastle have been relegated twice since 2009, a £300 million-plus asking price will deter potential investors fearful they will soon be owning a Championship club. He cites Everton, who were valued at £175 million when Farhad Moshiri increased his stake two years ago, as a “good benchmark” for Newcastle and feels it is “difficult to justify” the Tyneside club being worth almost twice that.

Last month, Bob Ratcliffe, chief executive of INEOS football, revealed the energy company considered buying a Premier League club before they completed the £88.7 million purchase of Nice, the French top-flight club, this summer. Newcastle were proposed by brokers to INEOS but Ratcliffe stated that “it’s very difficult to contemplate” buying an English club when they “come back to you with a valuation in the hundreds of millions.”

Some parties who have expressed an interest in buying Newcastle have previously told The Athletic they were put off making a substantive bid because of the asking price, although others have remained undeterred by the valuation and continue to court a deal.

Hall, the former owner, disputes the theory that price is an issue.

“If you haven’t got the cash to take the club forward then you’ll haggle over the price,” he told The Athletic. “I’m not convinced that anyone has yet gone to Mike and told him they will pay what he’s asking for.

“Newcastle needs someone to invest heavily in the side so, if they’re scraping around haggling over £50 million, they aren’t going to be able to take the club forward. The top clubs are worth billions now and, although it’d take at least five years, someone could make a serious return on their investment if they got it right at Newcastle. If somebody was to come along with the cash, I’d like to think Mike would sell, but only he can answer that.”

But Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead and a Newcastle season-ticket holder, believes Ashley’s asking price is preventing a sale. “The true value of any asset is only what someone else is willing to pay for it,” Mearns told The Athletic. “He wants more than twice what he paid for it and under those circumstances he cannot attract a buyer.”

At that forum in September 2018, a Newcastle official stated that, “the owner wants a fair price.” They also reiterated that Ashley is willing to accept instalments and deferred payments, rather than demand the fee as a lump sum.

Whether broken down into instalments or paid in bulk, nobody has yet met Ashley’s asking price.

The latest reports of a potential takeover revolve around Peter Kenyon, the former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive whose interest in Newcastle first became public a year ago.

A 46-page brochure, created by Kenyon and American firm GACP Sports, who own French top flight club Bordeaux, emerged last week. Within it, Kenyon and GACP appeal for investors to join their plan to offer £300 million for Newcastle, £125 million of which would be paid up front, with the remainder staggered over three years. Worryingly, the deferred £175 million would be borrowed against the club’s assets, and Ashley would be due an annual three per cent interest, plus Sports Direct signage would remain at St James’ Park until the money was paid in full.

There is disagreement on whether Kenyon has actually made a renewed bid. Newcastle have opted against commenting on takeover matters, while sources close to Ashley insist a fresh offer has yet to be received.

Certainly, Kenyon remains interested in buying Newcastle but, as one source stated earlier this year, he is a “man without money who wants to purchase a club.”

Last December, Ashley – who had previously socialised with Kenyon on occasion – named the former Manchester United CEO as his “preferred bidder”. The Athletic understands that Ashley even covered Kenyon’s legal and accountancy costs, which amounted to a six-figure sum, during the due-diligence process. Club insiders insist that, before Christmas, the “feeling” inside St James’ Park was that Kenyon was about to buy the club.

It was Ashley who alerted fans to a potential takeover, too, when he declared on Sky News that “talks are at a more progressed stage than they’ve ever been.” However, Kenyon had failed to attract enough investors and, when a letter from him to Ashley leaked out in January, it became clear that he did not have the funds to buy Newcastle.

In July, Ashley told the Daily Mail: “Peter Kenyon convinced me last Christmas that it was going to get done. I’m never doing that again.” He then declared that there were “no offers” for Newcastle at that stage.

The pamphlet that surfaced last week appears to have been an advert to attract additional investment. The manager with the “unparalleled success in Europe” comment contained within it suggests Rafa Benitez’s name was hastily replaced by successor Steve Bruce’s, but there are mistakes and questionable points throughout.

“I went through it page by page and it could have been an assignment I’d set for a group of kids — but it would fail because there were so many errors,” said Maguire, who was among those to be anonymously sent the dossier via an encrypted Swiss email account. “I had to check it wasn’t a spoof.”

Clearly Kenyon, given his footballing background, is credible as a potential future chief executive of Newcastle. But it is questionable whether his bid to buy the club is credible, given that sources insist he still does not have the funds necessary to tempt Ashley to sell.

What’s more, Bruce, who knows Kenyon from his own time as a player at Manchester United and from dealings since, claimed last week that a potential takeover was “news to him.” In fact, Bruce was only informed of Kenyon’s interest by Newcastle’s head of media.

Ashley dismissed Kenyon’s interest during the summer and, given that the former Chelsea chief executive is still trying to source investment, it appears unlikely, certainly in the short term, that he will lead a takeover of Newcastle. Those close to Ashley are adamant that, if Kenyon had produced the funds over the past 12 months, his consortium could have acquired the club by now.

Although Kenyon’s consortium is the latest to come to prominence, they are far from the only interested party. Several groups retain an interest in Newcastle but, as has been shown over the past decade, translating that into a serious offer has, Ashley would argue, proved elusive.

Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners claimed that they made three bids to buy Newcastle, ranging from £250 million to £350 million and structured in varying ways, in November 2017 but they were subsequently dismissed as “time wasters” by a “source close to Ashley”. That is despite PCP involving Chris Mort of Freshfields, formerly Newcastle chairman under Ashley, as their lawyer, as well as holding discussions with the city’s council and Falcons Premiership rugby club about how to develop ties between United and regional institutions.

In an interview with The Times in January 2018, Staveley stated that she was still “very much interested” in buying the club, that PCP’s “bid remains on the table” and that she “hopes” a positive solution is reached. Almost 20 months on, Ashley remains owner.

But PCP is not the only group to have reportedly shown interest in buying Newcastle over the past decade. Tyneside-based businessman Barry Moat famously emerged as the “preferred bidder” after relegation in 2009, while Shepherd was also twice linked with trying to regain control of Newcastle.

Sheikh Mansour reportedly looked at Newcastle before acquiring Manchester City in 2008, while Vince McMahon of WWE wrestling fame was even credited with an interest 10 years ago. Over the past 18 months, groups from countries including Mexico, the USA, China, Turkey, India and Saudi Arabia have been linked with purchasing the club, but few, if any, have actually tested Ashley with a substantive bid.

During the summer, the Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group — fronted by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan — released two statements, as well as a bizarre third one via a UAE-based DJ, claiming it was close to acquiring Newcastle. The club confirmed that the group were genuine but refused to comment on Bin Zayed’s assertions that they were in the process of acquiring Newcastle, leading to a summer of confusion regarding the ownership.

It swiftly became apparent to North East-based journalists that discussions were not as advanced as was claimed, with the Premier League failing to even start their owners’ and directors’ test. Instead the Bin Zayed Group merely signed a heads-of-terms agreement with Ashley, which is essentially a preliminary offer made long before an official bid, and, like with the publication of Kenyon’s brochure, the Newcastle owner was unaware that the Dubai-based party was going to declare its interest publicly.

This has caused Ashley to dismiss many of these groups as time-wasters. “The last bid, the one from UAE, he’s a prince and he’s got £38 billion or £100 billion… why would you care what you’re paying then?” he said in July.

Hall said: “The offers that have arrived in the past have been ‘try ons’ in my view. But I would be surprised if there isn’t interest in the background because there’s always interest in Newcastle. If someone offers Mike the cash, I’d like to think he’d sell. Only Mike can tell you why it hasn’t been sold.”

Both Ashley and The Athletic are aware of parties who remain interested in buying Newcastle, supporting Sir John’s belief that the club is still an attractive proposition for investors.

But at least one of the consortia in the background has raised concerns about Newcastle’s Premier League position. As Maguire explains, takeovers tend to be completed during the off-season, or when a side is certain of their divisional status, something that has not been the case at St James’ Park at any stage of a season before April in any of the past three years.

“If Newcastle are in danger of being relegated, then nobody will buy them at that stage,” Hall added. “Only if things improve drastically on the field are investors likely to put in a firm bid.”

Sources close to Ashley contend that he can sell Newcastle only if he has a buyer with the resources to purchase the club and then take it forward. One senior source even claimed earlier this year that Kenyon and Staveley are “both people who want to buy a football club but who don’t have the money to do so.”

Dennis Wise, a former director of football at St James’ Park under Ashley, has repeatedly stated that the billionaire will “do the correct thing” if “somebody comes up with the right amount of money.”

However, there are those who are sceptical about how genuine a seller Ashley is.

Alan Shearer, Newcastle’s record goal scorer, told Coral about a potential takeover in August: “It comes up every 18 months and nobody genuinely believes a takeover is going to happen. It’s copy and paste. Something is only for sale if you have a willing seller.”



Former Newcastle forward Joe Allon has labelled takeover rumours as a “smokescreen” and a “PR stunt,” designed during the summer to distract from Benitez’s exit. Benitez told The Times in July that the takeover was a “big problem” because it “wasn’t clear at any time” who the owner was going to be, suggesting that even the former manager did not receive clarity on whether talks with the Bin Zayed Group were genuine.

In his debut column for The Athletic, Benitez even stated that he was “waiting until late June, like every fan, hoping there would be good news about Newcastle’s prospective takeover,” once he decided he could no longer work under Ashley.

“Many fans believe Ashley does not want to sell the club,” Alex Hurst, chair of the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust and editor of fanzine True Faith said. “The club’s continued presence in the Premier League is enough for him to take a ‘gamble’ of loaning the club money to return from the Championship at the first attempt. Then the process starts again. Survival, rumours of a sale and then, ultimately, relegation.”

The theory that Ashley does not actually want to sell the club because it serves him well from a business point of view continues to grow among a fan-base who have become cynical towards their controversial owner.

In 2017-18, the most recent accounts available, Newcastle had a turnover of £178.5 million and made an after-tax profit of £18.6 million. As long as Newcastle are a top-flight side, they will continue to receive their share of the division’s lucrative TV deal, too, with the club banking £115.2 million from the Premier League.

Relegation does dramatically affect Newcastle’s finances, though. In 2016-17, for example, the club made an after-tax loss of £41.3 million and their wages-to-turnover ratio ballooned to 130.9 per cent. To cover costs during the most-recent Championship campaign, Ashley loaned the club an additional £33 million, which was repaid the following year.

What’s more, Sports Direct is given global exposure whenever Newcastle are televised at St James’ Park. Last season, half their league matches were televised.

“I think he wants a massive platform to advertise Sports Direct internationally for free,” Mearns said. “I’m not sure he cares about the club itself.”

Hurst added: “If Ashley did not continue to use his football club to advertise his other businesses prolifically, then it would be easier to counter the argument that he does not want to sell.”

While June could have been dominated with headlines about Benitez’s future, instead a potential takeover took precedence, leaving some sceptical fans to conclude that it was convenient for the club to adopt a “no-comment” approach, rather than deny the rumours. Newcastle’s defence would be that they had signed a non-disclosure agreement, and so were unable to speak on the matter.

But Ashley’s recent comments and actions also hint at an acceptance that he will remain owner for the time being. He excitedly visited the training ground to welcome £40 million record-signing Joelinton in July, and has overseen a reversion to the club’s blueprint of prioritising the recruitment of players under the age of 25.

The owner also described himself as “excited” by Bruce’s appointment as head coach, and he has handed the Geordie an “initial” three-year contract, as opposed to the sort of short-term deal that would allow new owners to easily change who they have in the dugout. Bruce also insisted at his unveiling that Ashley “didn’t talk about a takeover at all” during their discussions before he accepted the job, a topic that would surely have arisen if one was likely.

“If a sale wasn’t going to happen in the short term, then Mike had to appoint a manager for the long term,” Hall said. “I’m puzzled why the club hasn’t been sold but Mike seems to be operating on the basis that he is going to remain owner for now.”

At each of the past two fan forums, the club has confirmed that Newcastle remain on the market, and both Charnley and Ashley said so separately over the summer.

Yet Ashley has rarely been consistent in his public utterances on his own future at Newcastle. In May 2015 he famously stated on Sky Sports that he would not sell the club at “any price” until they won something. Then, in March 2016, he claimed he was “wedded to Newcastle” and had “no choice” but to remain owner.

By August 2017, he had declared that he would “not stand in Newcastle’s way” if a wealthy new owner came along. And, in the two years since, he has switched from announcing that a sale was closer than it had ever been live on TV, to lamenting that he may be owner “for ever.”

As with everything Ashley does at Newcastle, scepticism reigns when to comes to his stated desire to sell the club.

Last month, Ashley came out with the bizarre statement, “I don’t pick the Newcastle team and I never have, because that gets thrown at me as well.” Such comments – nobody credible has ever made an assertion about Ashley involving himself in team selection – highlight how difficult it is to separate fact from fiction when it comes to reading the club’s owner.

There remains interest in acquiring Newcastle but, as senior sources have repeatedly insisted in recent months, the club is operating as if Ashley will remain owner for the “medium term.” The Athletic understands that the Premier League has yet to be informed of a potential takeover at St James’ Park, too, meaning a change of ownership is not imminent.

That could change swiftly. As Ashley himself told the Daily Mail: “The day someone buys Newcastle, they’ll do their due diligence — and finished. It will happen like Manchester City. By the time the media find out, it’s already complete.”

If the past decade has told us anything, it is that Ashley is very bad at selling football clubs.

Somehow he remains at the helm — and, frustratingly, nobody can declare with any certainty when he may finally depart, either.