Newcastle could be out of the frying pan and straight into the fire if consortium seals takeover


Some Newcastle fans will be rubbing their hands together at the news Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is on the brink of buying their club.

That he’s willing to pay £340million to Mike Ashley to take an 80 per cent controlling stake in the club with a British consortium snapping up the remaining 20.

I’d be in the other group if I were a Toon supporter, though.

The one which fears that with such a deal the club could be jumping out of the frying pan and straight into the fire.

The problem we have is that whenever we hear someone from the Middle East wants to buy one our teams we automatically think of Sheikh Mansour and Manchester City.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to be behind the takeover

That billions rather than millions will be ploughed into not just the playing staff, the stadium and training ground, but into the community that houses the club as well.

It doesn’t always automatically work like that, though, and what we should stop to wonder is why someone wants to buy our club.

Yes, there’s plenty to love about Newcastle but there are also other reasons for wanting to own a Premier League club, whether it’s about prestige or a more sinister motivation such as sports washing, something that is regularly levelled at the Saudis at the moment.

How comfortable would Toon fans be if that were the case?

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I’m not saying it definitely is or definitely isn’t, but we at least need to ask ourselves these questions.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley

The Saudis will want to present their nation’s better face, of course, and initially these deals always look like they’re done under blue skies.

What would also concern me about the proposed deal is that the Magpies wouldn’t be owned lock, stock and barrel by one individual or one group.

Because whenever two parties are involved, however harmonious things are in the beginning when everything is rosy, the potential for conflict down the line is great.

Wealthy people have often had huge success in their respective lines of work and therefore back the decisions they make.

So what happens down the line when the Reuben brothers, David and Simon, disagree with the direction of travel the Saudis want to take the club in?

Newcastle fans protest against club owner Ashley at St James’s Park.

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You end up with one group wanting to buy the other out and all that that entails.

It all reminds me of the days when Charlton thought Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt would work as joint-managers, and Liverpool felt the same way about Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier.

Look how that all worked out.

The problem Newcastle fans have got is that Ashley probably doesn’t give a flying you-know-what who he sells to given the state of his relationship between them.

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He probably feels he owes the Toon Army no favours at all in terms of making sure he finds the right buyer for the club.

I’d imagine he just wants the money he has pumped into the club back and then some and damn the long-term consequences.

Which isn’t the situation Newcastle fans, so beleaguered by Ashley over the years, really want to be in.





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