A fan-written piece by Joe Donnohue (Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com if you have something you’d like to like write for us!)
Following Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal, Newcastle United moved just two points away from 8th in the Premier League, with 41 points on the board. Safety is assured.
So what now on the takeover front? It is the multi-million-dollar question on every Newcastle fan’s lips.
A key stumbling block in the reported breakdown in talks between Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley earlier in the season was the uncertainty about the league in which Newcastle would be playing next season. Understandably, Newcastle would have been greatly overvalued at £300m plus if they were to be relegated at the end of this season.
Now, with that secured, a more concrete valuation of the club can be put forth to any potential buyers, at least for the next few months.
Theoretically, Newcastle United should find it no trouble to find a buyer. A Premier League club, set to receive the multi-millions in TV revenue, with an owner supposedly looking to sell. A club with a raucous and enthusiastic fan-base, managed by a Champions League-winning manager; it is an attractive proposition to potential buyers – or so it would seem.
Something which is highly likely in the wake of Benítez helping United secure Premier League survival is the assumption by Mike Ashley that he can increase the asking price for Newcastle United Football Club.
Having demanded upwards of £300m in 2017, it is unlikely that the business tycoon will lower his valuation of the club. To some fans, it is unfathomable that Ashley is willing to sell full-stop, unless he was to receive a ludicrously high offer.
In the world of business, especially where hundreds of millions of pounds are exchanged, potential buyers are unlikely to be satisfied with paying over the odds for something which could dramatically lose its value in the space of twelve months.
Football clubs are volatile and valuing them is a thankless task. There are so many moving parts to consider. Even now with Premier League safety almost mathematically assured, the true value of the club will not be determined until the end of the season because of the prize money awarded by the Premier League. Newcastle would earn a great deal more money if they were to finish in 10th rather than 17th.
Purported lingering interest from Amanda Staveley has been reported upon recently once again, but how plausible the interest is from the businesswoman, only she will know.
There is a chance that Mike Ashley may not sell, following the previous claims that the takeover talks were “exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time”. However, those quotes could be put down to the businessman’s nature of indulging in brinkmanship-like politics.
Ashley’s intent to sell the club may even be feigned, as plenty of fans have stated that as long as he owns a sports retail store and benefits from unlimited free advertising on a fortnightly basis in front of a bare minimum of 52,000 people.
The unpredictability of Newcastle’s owner, coupled with a previous breakdown in talks does not appear to bode well for those hopeful for a new owner at St James’ Park.
Nevertheless, stranger things have happened and Staveley does seem to be the front-runner in the local media, but Newcastle United fans have come to know over the years that nothing is straightforward on Tyneside, especially under Mike Ashley’s ownership.
Ahead of our final five games of the season, a rousing crowd at St James’ Park matched by a buoyant Newcastle side on the pitch could tip the scales in favour of Staveley – or any other interested investor – making an offer. We can hope.