Rumours spread earlier this week that a Chinese consortium is interested in buying newly-promoted Premier League club Newcastle United.
If the takeover was to be complete, it would put an end to current owner Mike Ashley’s controversial ten-year tenure, and, although maintaining that the Magpies are not for sale until they “win something”, it is understood that Ashley is considering all available options in terms of ownership of the club.
The Magpies were only recently familiarised with the Chinese market after managing director Lee Charnley flew to the Far East to discuss sponsorship matters for United’s new kit after their previous deal with Wonga expired.
Charnley wished for a healthy and significant sponsorship deal and was successful, with United reaching an agreement with online gambling company ‘Fun88’, becoming the biggest deal in the club’s history as well as placing United in the Premier League’s top ten sponsorship contracts.
Officials in China would have been left impressed with Newcastle’s handling of matters as well as their ambition, to such an extent, causing authorities to express their desire to own the club and be the basis for their future success.
Only recently has the discomfort with the Ashley regime died down somewhat, with Newcastle being promoted back to the Premier League and the future looking surprisingly bright taking the attention away from off-the-field matters.
The Geordie faithful have largely been unhappy with affairs under Ashley who has been nothing short of contentious.
In 2011, Ashley renamed St James’ Park the ‘Sports Direct Arena’, which was arguably the most controversial action under his helm.
However, this issue was rectified in 2012 when then-new sponsor Wonga accessed the stadium naming rights and reverted the name back to St James’ Park and thus satisfying Toon fans.
Ashley is also regarded as responsible for selling the club’s top players in the past and failing to replace them, most notably in the cases of Andy Carroll in 2011 and midfield anchor Yohan Cabaye in 2014.
Many fans will also believe that United’s lowly and satisfactory league table finishes are a result of Ashley failing to spend in order to strengthen the squad, with only two top-ten finishes, not to mention two relegations hardly pleasing to Newcastle supporters.
On the positive side, Ashley has left Newcastle in a healthy financial state and also did everything in his power to keep hold of iconic manager Rafael Benitez when United were relegated in 2016.
Although new owners are not guaranteed to maintain the club in such a well-balanced manner and may cause the club penalties with strict financial fair play rules in place, the many optimists amongst Magpies supporters will not be fazed.
Competing with the Premier League’s elite
If the takeover was to be complete, manager Benitez would be guaranteed hefty funds in order to build his squad, while his plans and potentially Newcastle United’s success would be springboarded.
United would finally have the capabilities to compete with the Premier League’s elite, as it is money which is sadly the decisive factor in modern football.
Fans would continue to flock in their tens of thousands, while the takeover may be seen as a reward for the many years of constant support and loyalty of their beloved club.
Written by Dawud Arshad
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