Alex Hurst has this week reaffirmed that the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) were assured by the Premier League that they seek to protect both the clubs and the league when they examine the fitness of new owners. But from what can be seen at Burnley currently, the Premier League have lied.
The Athletic reported recently that “New Burnley owner ALK Capital borrowed a sum in the region of £80 million from American technology billionaire Michael Dell’s investment firm to complete its takeover of the Premier League club. According to several well-placed sources, ALK paid about £150 million for 84 per cent of Burnley’s shares but has put in only around £15 million of its own money up front. The rest has come from MSD Capital, the private equity firm set up in 1998 to manage the Dell family fortune — and approximately £55 million from Burnley’s own bank account.”
What this basically means is that the people taking over Burnley didn’t actually have the money needed to takeover a Premier League football club and, as The Guardian are reporting (as shared by none other than Nick De Marco QC) has left the club “£90m worse off and loaded with debt”.
None of this reads like the Premier League have protected one of their clubs, and it feels like they have willingly allowed someone to come in and do what has been done to Sunderland and Derby County. I’m not invested in Burnley by any stretch, but I fear that we may be seeing the beginning of a demise of a club.
The big thing however, from a Newcastle perspective is the complete hypocrisy from the Premier League when it comes to this Burnley deal and to our deal.
How can the Premier League honestly say that the new Burnley owners effectively passed the Owners and Director’s Test, when the bad news has been revealed so soon after the takeover has been passed?
No matter what you believe the real reason for the Premier League not passing the Newcastle takeover, it cannot be denied that they are clearly not acting purely in the best interests for all of their clubs.
It’s hard to put any belief into an organisation that simply doesn’t communicate it’s reasonings for doing the things it does and seemingly allows big business to dictate how a competition is played out.
Both Newcastle and Burnley may find themselves sinking into the depths of the footballing world, simply because the league that is supposed to protect them and give them purpose didn’t believe they were worth the time.
For what it’s worth, I think Newcastle will eventually be taken over by PIF but I think it will come about after several agreements have been made so that the Premier League receives a nod from their bosses with the money to allow it.
Don’t believe for a second that the Premier League has supporters or clubs in mind for when they make decisions, because they really couldn’t give a flying hoot if Turf Moor or St James’ Park turn to ash.