It’s fanciful at best, but several NUFC fans and journalists have questioned whether Mike Ashley’s announcement to ‘pull the plug’ on takeover talks with Amanda Staveley and PCP could be a severe case of brinkmanship – with theories emerging that he’s done this in a bid to force the Yorkshire financier into making an improved last ditch bid for the club.
As we say, these claims on social media are perhaps just desperate attempts to lift the mood after such devastating news, however some of the explanations do carry elements of intrigue.
We know how much of a risk-taker Ashley is, and the Chronicle also claim that Staveley is ‘devastated’ to hear of the deal’s collapse.
See the range of tweets below, from Sky reporter Pete Graves to your everyday NUFC fan, with all looking into ways in which Staveley’s takeover attempts may be resurrected:
#nufc deal off at 250m BUT if PCP return with a bigger offer then who knows? It looks a long way off tonight though doesn't it? It's been suggested to me that a bigger offer was potentially being prepared for Feb. Not sure if today's developments have killed that now.
— Pete Graves (@PeteGravesSky) January 16, 2018
100% believe this is just brinkmanship by Mike Ashley. He knows what he’s doing. PCP will be back #nufc
— Adam Smith (@adam_smith1990) January 16, 2018
Assume PCP now know the offer of £250mil currently on the table is rejected, follow tonight’s statement. Ball probably now back in their court with regards to making an increased offer or walking away from the deal #NUFC
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) January 16, 2018
There's a chance that Ashley is engaging in brinkmanship, but on the chance he isn't, this is bad news for the future of the club. Whether they stay up or not, I don't see Benitez hanging around, and it's back to finding another yes man. https://t.co/LBoC1EBydO
— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) January 16, 2018
Takeover talk confusion @NUFC tonight – Mike Ashley's people deny any deal exists, I understand PCP's £250m formal bid made in November remains on the table.
— Jim White (@JimWhite) January 16, 2018
— steve wraith (@stevewraith) January 16, 2018
Who knows what will come of it. Is Ashley serious here, or has he made a all or nothing attempt to get Staveley and PCP to up their bid after growing tired of talks stalling?
We shall see, but the way Ashley has gone about his business over the past few hours/days/weeks suggests to me he has more likely burned bridges with them over anything else.
Brinkmanship can’t be ruled out (business is a ruthless game and these guys don’t often make it by being nice), but would you honestly want to hand £300m plus to a man like Mike whose shown his true colours in all of this? I doubt it.