What a whirlwind this week has been.
Promising documents emerged from Companies House on Tuesday morning confirming some serious movement and, within 48 hours, just about every reliable outlet under the sun had reported that a takeover at Newcastle United was on course to be completed subject to Premier League approval.
That said, the tone of some takeover talk on social media has changed ever so slightly after an odd and slightly unsettling piece emerged from Mike Ashley’s go-to journalist, Martin Samuel.
His article – which was posted late last night – was bizarre, flagging up some flaky reasons to be cautious (all while making little sense and comparing ‘£40m’ to a pint of beer), however I’m a firm believer that yesterday’s optimism that a deal is ‘imminent’ shouldn’t be turned into today’s dread and despair.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve now heard from Sky Sports, the Times, the Telegraph, the Independent and many more reliable outlets (involving both national and local reporters) that this is all but done, subject to Premier League approval.
As a result (and this might sound naive of me given the magnitude of this deal), I’ve compared this to a transfer. As if a £30m fee and personal terms are agreed, the star player is on Tyneside and we’re just waiting for an official announcement now the only hurdle left to overcome is his medical.
Considering it’s widely accepted that this takeover is now with the Premier League, with fit and proper persons tests now said to be underway by 95% of credible outlets, it seems the deal is a ‘green light’ away from completion – making the current situation comparable to the ‘medical’ phase.
Don’t get me wrong, it’d be much appreciated if a statement was released from the buying and selling side to ease any nerves as these PL checks could take ‘weeks’, not hours like a medical would, but – Martin Samuel’s bizarre piece aside – we’ve not been given any reason to believe this is in danger of collapsing.
Mike Ashley is unpredictable and greedy, so some might be fearful of him pushing his luck with any last minute moves, but it seems like this is too far down the line for any of that – even for him!
For those who read it, it’s also worth noting that a line from Samuel’s piece (via a bullet point at the top of his article) stating ‘a price is yet to be agreed’ has now been removed – with North-East reporter Craig Hope appearing to notify the Mail after several fans flagged up the concerning claim.
So, it seems we may have to just sit tight, trust what those in the know are saying and hope for the best.
I imagine most fears are based on our desperate desire for this to happen, Mike Ashley’s unpredictability and the false dawns we’ve dealt with in the past – not what’s actually being reported, as 99% of it has been hugely promising to say the least.
Premier League checks are clearly underway and it’s close. No one knows what the result of the Premier League Owners and Directors test will be, but if we compare it to the idea of a player undergoing his medical, you can be reminded just how close this takeover appears to be.
I’ve got everything crossed until it’s officially announced that Mike Ashley is no more, yet it feels like, for once, we have genuine reason to believe this is happening.