This week, fresh talk has emerged over the continuous takeover saga at Newcastle United.
Owner Mike Ashley spoke to Sky News about his hopes that a deal to sell the club was ‘possible’ and at a ‘more progressed stage’ that any previous negotiations. Ashley stated his ambitions to offload the club before the January transfer window, reaffirming his desire to find the ‘right buyer’.
With such speculation being frequent over Ashley’s tenure at the club, Newcastle supporters have seemed to become numb to rumours concerning the future of the club, with Ashley attempting to sell the club on multiple occasions.
A similar predicament unfolded this time last year, when businesswoman Amanda Staveley’s attempt to purchase Newcastle United was reported to be close. Staveley was spotted at St James’ Park a few times, while she was also captured negotiating with Ashley over dinner. This exposure in her bid provided supporters with newfound hope for their club after several dark years, only for them to be faded away as Ashley described Staveley’s attempt as a ‘waste of time’.
United then did not spend a single penny in the subsequent transfer window, instead bringing in three players on loan; all of whom made an impact on the pitch however – including Islam Slimani; Although the squad pulled through towards the end of last season, such controversy was not ideal for manager Rafa Benitez, who wants operations to run smoothly in order to achieve his objectives with the club.
A similar situation is likely to be apparent in this January transfer window, should the club not be sold. Fans have interpreted the novel conjecture as a smokescreen and an excuse for Ashley not to invest in the squad in the upcoming transfer window; an unfortunate and familiar tale for the Magpies in recent windows.
Investment is the primary reason, amongst other controversies, that fans have directed their anger at Ashley. From an outside perspective, everything is in place for Newcastle United to achieve success, bar the backing of the owner financially. A world-class and Champions League winning manager who understands the club and the city, a loyal fanbase and iconic stadium are all ingredients for a club who should be competing in the higher echelons of the Premier League.
Instead, due to the tight-fisted nature of an owner who is a businessman and possesses little football knowledge, United have resorted to multiple relegation battles for the most part of Ashley’s reign, with the odd mid-table finish and European qualification once in 2012.
Benitez himself has also noted his frustration at the lack of backing, which is why many fans and pundits alike see the Spaniard running down his contract which expires at the end of the season. The fear of losing the man who resurrected Newcastle United and re-united the club with the city has been heightened by the fact that a new contract has not been signed yet.
Although supporters have quickly brushed off any hope, there are reports that buyers are willing to purchase the club, with Sky Sports informing that ‘at least four groups’ are interested in taking over Newcastle United, further adding that Ashley HAS received bids.
For all those in black and white who have witnessed more hurt than ever before while supporting Newcastle United, it is hoped that a deal is struck to relieve the pantomime villain that is Mike Ashley from his ownership of Newcastle United and for new owners to awake a sleeping giant of a football club.
Written by Dawud Arshad
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