It’s coming up to the anniversary of the £300m Saudi-backed bid that was accepted by Mike Ashley – which was followed by drawn out agony of ‘will it, won’t it’ until ultimately the gilt-edged reality was pulled from under us back in July.
Reality kicked in eventually but the dream never ever went away and still lingers to this day. Often ridiculed, often rumoured (incorrectly) and often just bizarre, but never the hope totally extinguished…and now there’s murmurs the ‘failed bid’ might just have a chance of being resurrected.
The thawing of relations in the Gulf should be seen as positive, ‘significant’ and a ‘potential game-changer’ for the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United, but the group – should they get a second chance with the Premier League – will need to be ‘nimble’ to complete a deal.
That’s the thoughts of Chronicle football editor Mark Douglas who shared his view after Saudi Arabia agreed to end a blockade on Qatar, reopening the border with the country after three years.
Here’s what he’s had to say on The Everything is Black and White Podcast in an intriguing take on what the major movements in the Middle East could mean:
“It’s potentially a game-changer, because it removes the big issue of one of the Premier League’s biggest commercial partners being at odds with one of the clubs.”
“Down the line, if we start to get agreements and beIN Sports is turned on in Saudi Arabia, then I do think it could have a big impact and we could see some of the problems around the takeover loosened.
“What you would need then is a nimble strategy from the consortium to look at the different ways you can solve the issues that stopped the deal in the first place – to me it feels significant.
“It could be the start of a new approach, a new way of doing things.”
The agreement signed earlier this week may in the long term aid the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, in its attempts to buy Newcastle United from Mike Ashley bringing fresh hope to the long-suffering Toon fanbase.
The PIF alongside Amanda Staveley and the Reuben Brothers are still believed to be keen to complete a deal. Add in Mike Ashley has employed two of the world’s leading QC’s – Nick de Marco and Shaheed Fatima – to lead a dispute against the Premier League regarding the owners and directors test, and the fact there is also a fan led legal challenge from the NCSL.
Douglas feels, however, the move in the Gulf is ‘significant’ to the outcome all NUFC fans are craving:
“This was not a deal that was supposed to be blocked – the Premier League maintains that the top six did not oppose it, they said the issues were procedural issues which could have been solved.
“So that claim becomes a real test if some of the issues around Qatar are removed – and yes, they have to take another look at it.
“It feels like if you are talking about things in the background being significant then this has to be one of the things. With Qatar and Saudi Arabia at loggerheads and beIN sports being Qatari owned then it was always going to be a big problem.”
“If they can come to an agreement and if they drop the legal threats – which I think they probably will – I think it removes some hurdles to the takeover happening, it doesn’t guarantee it but it certainly gives it a second chance.”
Time will tell if this is another false dawn and could still end up being another dagger into the hearts of all NUFC fans but one thing is certain. The takeover talk isn’t ending any time soon.