Another telling sign has emerged that a Saudi-backed takeover looks set to happen at St James’ Park, with Mike Ashley’s mate in the media (Martin Samuel) appearing to accept defeat on the £300m deal late last night.
The Daily Mail writer – who infamously took part in Mike Ashley’s PR statement in 2019 – has written a series of bizarre pieces over the past week.
He first stated that ‘alarm bells were ringing’, suggesting Staveley was yet to agree on a price – despite widespread reports confirming all elements of the deal were ‘agreed’ – and then reported that Mike Ashley will come away with £17m if the deal collapses, choosing to side with the idea of it falling through even when such a huge non-refundable deposit was a clear sign that it was happening.
However, his latest piece then arrived late last night. It’s still bizarre and contradictory in parts, but the entire theme of it is completely different in one key respect – he talks throughout as if a deal is done.
He discusses the FFP issues the Saudis look set to face – saying we’ve now joined Manchester City and PSG as the third silly-rich side who’ll have to manage their spending – appearing to accept defeat that Mike Ashley’s miserable 13-year reign has come to an end.
Here’s a snippet from his latest piece:
‘No club has the right to reside among the elite but Newcastle have been in the doldrums for too long. It needs owners with the imagination to realise potential and maybe this new consortium will do that.
How long Newcastle will be allowed their dream, though, is another matter. Until they become a threat to some large vested interests is the best estimate. Then, watch attitudes change.’
Newcastle’s honeymoon will last until the moment the elite feel threatened. There were two types of stories doing the rounds at the weekend. One said Newcastle’s new regime intended to abide dutifully by financial fair play rules, the other that there was £200m to spend on transfers and becoming a leading force. Can’t be done. Mutually exclusive. FFP is there to stop a club like Newcastle benefiting from owner investment.’
‘And some will argue FFP won’t be an issue for Newcastle because they have big gates and a fanatical following, but it isn’t as simple as that. Newcastle’s kit deal with Puma is estimated to be worth £6.5million annually — that’s almost £40m down on Tottenham, close to £100m behind Liverpool.
Considering he was just about the only journalist left who was genuinely casting doubt over this deal, his sudden shift in stance (which sums up his contradictory style) seems significant – especially if he’s had Mike Ashley in his ear.
The sun is shining, the cans are in the fridge and we’re all absolutely sick of refreshing Twitter.
Let’s hope today’s the day!