A takeover saga which has now dragged on for 18 months and seen the club embroiled in legal disputes with the Premier League is closer to resolution than ever before and the group, led by Amanda Staveley, the British businesswoman, could soon bring to an end Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership of Newcastle.
The news comes after Saudi Arabia indicated it would lift its ban on broadcaster beIN SPORTS. beIN, a Qatari network, has been unable to broadcast in Saudi Arabia for the last four-and-a-half years as part of a diplomatic dispute between the two nations.
However Newcastle fans have missed feelings about the future of the club. Some fans have been quoted saying “Mike Ashely won’t be missed” but still have some concerns about the Prince of UAE’s money and recent History”.
The huge question is what the new owners mean. Amanda Staveley will be viewed a hero after three years of work making the deal happen. And the Reuben Brothers, among the UKs richest men and big investors in a Newcastle shopping centre and racecourse already, will also be on the board.
But the big questions have always been about the PIF, the investment fund of Saudi Arabia, with the obvious concern that Newcastle could be part of a sports washing empire and any success may come with an asterisk. The PIF is already a huge investor in firms like Uber, Wework and Slack, and owns stakes in Boeing and Disney, so they’re not exactly new to investing in big companies people in the UK would use. But for a lot of people the owners will be a big issue, with the hope that Staveley and the Reubens will have enough control. I’d rather have had them alone, but we didn’t get that choice.
For now, I’m celebrating Ashley going, thankful to Staveley, and pretty much still hoping, just hoping, that we won’t go down this year. If there’s a Christmas wish list with new owners’ money, it would a progressive new manager, and some young good central defence and central midfield to form a stronger spine to the team and let ASM and Wilson do their thing, to get us back up into the Prem middle ranks. If City are any guide the path to the very top can take five years or more no matter how much money you have. Mbappe can wait…
Roger (South Hampstead)