It seems like every few months another rumour does the rounds that someone may meet Mike Ashley’s asking price for Newcastle United and end his divisive stint on Tyneside.
While it feels like months ago given how things are going in the wider world, the Floyd Mayweather takeover talk is only three weeks old.
That story came about when a fan asked Mayweather, out of the blue, if he’d ever consider buying the club. Every media outlet in the world ran the story, the fan revealed that he only asked the question to “highlight how easy it is to start off a rumour with little or no substance to it and watch others make it sound like the truth.”
This is the lens through which Geordies will view the recent news that the Premier League has been notified about a takeover bid for Newcastle United. The Telegraph have reported that Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund are behind the latest bid to change the Magpies’ ownership.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) March 29, 2020
The timing of this announcement seems a bit odd. The world is in turmoil and both this season and possibly next season are in doubt. Surely this is the worst time to be buying – or selling – a football club?
It’s hard to estimate how recent events would affect the price of a club like NUFC, but, given how much trouble the pandemic has created on global markets, football clubs’ values seem as unsettled as anything else – Borussia Dortmund have seen 43% Dortmund knocked off their share price since February!
Should we expect possible buyers to cut their bids as a result? If they do in their pursuit of Newcastle, it’s hard to imagine that Ashley will sell, and the Toon Army can look forward to several more year of mediocrity on the pitch.
But then what if the consortium don’t lower their offer? George Caulkin, Geordie football writer for The Athletic, has said that the mooted new owners: “…are not buying Newcastle to sell it, but to invest and grow. It is for 10 years’ time, not just now.”
If that’s the case, it could be worth a bet at 3/1 bet that Mike Ashley will take the offer and run.
But, as a long-suffering Newcastle fan, I’m not having it.
I think Ashley sticks around – and the market agrees, with the odds currently 2/9 that he remains owner into 2021.
He’ll probably stay until we’re as doomed as Sunderland. The next Tyne-Wear Derby might take place in League One the way things are going for both clubs.