Exciting news yesterday as the takeover talk took a big step towards being a reality with confirmation that NUFC is officially up for sale (again.) An official statement was released to the media as it finally appears that Ashley has accepted that he is holding the club, and his investment, back now.
How likely is a takeover to happen & why does it seem like Ashley will be gone for good before long?
We have been here before, right?
My first thoughts were excitement at a potential new owner but this was also quickly followed with doubt by so many; how is this different from the other failed attempts to sell? Ashley has clearly valued the club too high previously and is known to be a difficult seller. Football clubs are usually sold behind closed doors, it only appears to be Ashley who flaunts the club like it’s a pair of trainers on eBay. The statement this time though is a step up from him sending an email address for interested parties to Sky Sports news (as he did 8 years ago) and at least was released through the club not other outlets.
Ashley lacks class and his communication methods don’t follow football protocol but I think its genuine this time. He knows he doesn’t have the money to compete, or that he doesn’t want to spend the money to enable us to compete. Wages continue to rise, transfer fees are becoming ridiculous, Rafa may be a top manager but with that he’s a very well paid one and the HMRC probe continues to hang over us. These are all things that inhibit his ability to make NUFC a ‘money making model’ on the cheap and I think he’s realised his race is run here.
He probably thought he spent good money to get it right with McClaren, but it sent us down. With the new TV deal, maybe Ashley feels he has been priced out the market and wants to sell it before the Premiership bubble bursts? Who knows, but he’s clearly a motivated seller this time – something we haven’t seen before during his timid attempts to sell in the past.
An interesting part of the statement was that they admitted ‘several’ non discourse agreements have been signed and they expect more interest. A Christmas deadline is also exciting for Newcastle fans. In reality though, takeover talk has been rife for almost 12 months now and the reality is that the statement has probably been used to drum up late interest? He is woefully inadequate as a Chairman but you know he is not going to sell on the cheap.
Another key part of the statement yesterday was the fact Ashley would accept payment in instalments. There could be good cash flow reasons for this but my concern would be if a potential owner does not have £300m up front, then will they have the capital to really back Rafa in the transfer market? It could just be hinting at trying to get a quick sale but let’s pray Ashley sells to someone who is right for us. It would be a nightmare to jump into another period of mediocrity. An owner with ambition and good intentions is essential.
Why NUFC is an attractive proposition
The global reach and new TV money deal has dramatically increased the value of all Premier League teams overnight. I am sure foreign investors would love to buy a Manchester United, or a Liverpool over ourselves, but the asking price of those teams would be over £1bn.
At around £300m, NUFC is far cheaper and the only ‘bigger’ club, certainly stadium and support wise, that could be bought. It has potential to get back into the top 6 with the right backing.
Having Rafa Benitez will also be viewed as a massive bonus. Having a world class manager in place behind a one club city and devoted fan base will only help interest. On the face of it, everything is in place for Newcastle to thrive if we had serious investment.
Do you think we will see a new owner come Christmas?