The Saudi-led consortium, fronted by Amanda Staveley is promising – to say the least, but what can the potential new owners do if the takeover is successful?
Mike Ashley, who – for the time being – remains as Newcastle United’s chairman, seems to be coming to the end of his 13-year reign on Tyneside. But, with the potential news this week that a takeover is finally successful, fans are hopeful they will finally get to say goodbye to the British billionaire.
Staveley, the public figure leading the potential takeover, is only waiting for the premier league to finalise and approve the deal before the Geordie’s can wave goodbye to the owner and welcome the new ones.
Speculated to make Newcastle United one of the richest clubs in the Premier League, what can the owners do if this takeover finally passes through?
Removal of Sports Direct
The first action any new owner, entering St. James’ Park, should make is: removing the signs of Sports Direct.
The signs, a symbol of Ashley’s presence at the club would be a delight for fans watching them being torn down – some would likely offer a helping hand. It would also make it crystal clear to the fanbase that this is finally the end of the Billionaire’s tenure at the club, creating a fresh start atmosphere for the newcomers.
The words ‘Sports Direct’ will surely live in the bad memories of the Newcastle fans. More so, since the club stadium St. James’ Park was once called the Sports Direct Arena, which resulted in anger amongst the Tyneside fan base. Nevertheless, seeing the signs being taken away will allow the fans to look hopeful towards the future.
Like many businesses around the United Kingdom, staff have been placed on furlough – a way for businesses, and the nation, to deal with economic losses due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, football clubs have taken some heat on taking the choice offered in front of them.
Newcastle was one of these clubs to take that option. Was it a controversial choice? Most definitely. In 2018, the club had made a £178.5m turnover and most likely made a similar number last season – due to TV revenue etc. Despite this, NUFC still placed their non-playing staff on furlough leave.
If the new owners come in, worth $320 billion, they could easily take the Magpies staff off furlough leave. This would follow in the footsteps of Liverpool, who – after receiving negative backlash – went back on their decision.
A new manager?
The Toon Army manager, Steve Bruce, at the beginning of the season wasn’t a welcomed figure at the club. Many considered him to be a manager only fit enough for the Championship, in the English Football League, while some disliked him for his past – managing Newcastle’s local rivals, Sunderland AFC.
It’s worth wondering if the club will continue with Bruce, until the end of his contract in 2022. Considering the speculations that other managers like Mauricio Pochettino and, bookies favourite to return, Rafa Benitez are being lined up to take over the managerial reigns.
Granted, Bruce did not have a great start to the season. However, he has guided the team to the middle of the Premier League – eight points clear of the relegation zone. Will the new owners be interested in watching him for another season, to ensure he is the right fit? Or, will they end his contract early and put a new manager in his place?
The transfer market may be what breaks or makes a club in the world of football, good or bad transfers can depict a league-winning season or their season resulting in relegation. Many fans over the years have cried out for Ashley to invest more into the club, not to be a title-winning team but to be a team that can sit comfortably in the mid-table regions of the Premier League – and maybe push for a top-six finish.
With potential new owners on the horizon, those who could make Newcastle one of the richest teams in the top-tier league of English football, it ignites hopes back into fans of the black and whites. The investment would have to be made, not just in the transfer market, but in the academy as well. Sean Longstaff would be a prime example of what the academy could do with homegrown players, contributing to their boyhood club.
However, funding to the squad doesn’t always count to success. Manchester City currently sits at the top of the rich list within the league. Whereas, Liverpool sits in 12th (according to TalkSport, based on a successful takeover). Despite the gap between the two teams, in terms of wealth, the Merseyside team has run away with the league with a 25-point gap over, second-place, City, looking set to be this season’s champions.
Newcastle fans have a desired hatred towards their chairman and have a particular opinion on those close to him. It is unclear if this is an indication as to why Ashley doesn’t attend Newcastle games often. The first time the black and whites chairman attended a game this season was back on January 14, in a 4-1 victory over Rochdale in the FA Cup.
It seems it would be as beneficial for the fans as it would for the new owners of the club if they were to get involved with the local communities in the area – whether this is Staveley, the Rueben brothers or an official from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
It would be a great chance for fans to get a sense of involvement with their beloved club and regain the trust they lost during Ashley’s reign. Truly marking a new era for the club.