Newcastle United fans can “dream again” with the proposed takeover of the club nearing completion, according to Steve Howey.
The former Newcastle defender was speaking on a special Sky Sports Football podcast, where he and Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie discussed the latest developments of the agreement which would see a Saudi-backed consortium take over instructs owner Mike Ashley’s club.
Read on for snippets of what they had to say – from the takeover progress to potential transfer spending and Ashley’s legacy – or listen to their full analysis on a special Sky Sports Football podcast below.
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What is the latest addition to the recovery?
Keith Downie: In terms of takeover, we’re pretty much on the last legs. A lot of work has been done, certainly in the past two months, but even more in the past two years. We know that Amanda Staveley tried to buy the club in late 2017 and was unsuccessful, when it ended up acrimoniously enough with Mike Ashley at the time, when he described it as a waste of time. Now the two have got back together and sources around Staveley have told me they kissed and made up, so to speak, that it was water under the bridge now and here we are.
They have an agreement in place for a £ 300 million takeover by PCP Partners, the consortium formed by Staveley. It would own 10% of the club if and when it was ratified. Reuben Brothers, a very wealthy English family – the second richest family in the country – would also hold 10% but it would be majority owned by the Saudi fund PIF. They would own 80% of the football club and they would be primarily responsible, although Staveley is the face of the club on the board.
This agreement is in place, a bond has been paid between £ 17 and £ 17.5 million. It is now with the Premier League. There are two things to do: you have to get the go-ahead from the Premier League, which turns out to be a little bit more difficult than you thought, and then, if and when it does, that’s the case. rest of funds being transferred to Mike Ashley.
It’s been in the Premier League for several weeks now [for an owners’ and directors’ test] but it can happen, it can take weeks, it can take months. With the current pandemic we have, I think it makes it even more difficult to determine when we will have a resolution on this.
What does this potential takeover mean for fans?
Steve Howey: I think one of the key words is excitement. I also hope to be in a position where fans can dream a little. I think when Mike Ashley took over it was a possibility, but the fans quickly realized that it wouldn’t be a possibility.
Fans will have seen how desperate the situation was in Manchester City and look at where they are now, look at the money that Roman Abramovich also brought to Chelsea. Manchester City was in a much worse situation, but in order for the people who enter the club to have the financial support they say they have, Newcastle fans ask themselves, “ can we dream again, can we rediscover the era of Kevin Keegan when Sir John Hall and Freddy Shepherd were in charge?
They had 13 years of broken promises. You look at how many times Newcastle has struggled and you think, “ we can’t wait to see the transfer market and we think we need A, B and C to help the team ” – and sometimes it there was no one who entered.
I think Newcastle fans, hopefully, have something to hope for.
What type of immediate investment could the new owners make in the team?
Keith Downie: The biggest question mark for me on all of this is how much they will invest.
It’s easy for a lot of fans to get carried away with things and we see reports of big names in players – like Gareth Bale and Edinson Cavani – but certainly the noises I hear from the buyers are that they don’t not invest at this level, certainly to start anyway.
We see reports from huge players, but the noise I hear from the buyers is that they will not invest at this level, certainly to start with anyway.
Keith Downie, Sky Sports News reporter
It seems to be more of a slow construction process. It is easy for supporters to think that we will be the next Manchester City or PSG, but, as I am told, that will not be the case. They will first try to improve the infrastructure of the club.
Some fans may be disappointed with this. Some fans might think it’s a smart way to do things. But I just think that some of the names going around right now is an open target for the agents.
What is the size of the gap that Newcastle must close if it is to meet the challenge of the top four and silverware?
Steve Howey: It’s a huge gap. If you didn’t follow the season, you would watch where Newcastle would end up and say, “Oh, they didn’t hurt too much.” But throughout the season, it was difficult.
The guys themselves are a very honest group of boys who do their best. Under Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce, they were well organized and difficult to beat. Were there times when performance was really poor? Yes, but each team has them.
For me, the main priority is to score goals. We all know that they are so difficult to obtain.
For me, the main priority is to score goals. We all know that they are so difficult to obtain. And, of course, the agents and the clubs will all realize: “there is Newcastle, they have just received new investments, raise the price”, because that is what tends to happen. But for me, it has to be an attacker.
This is why they have struggled this season. You take the two top scorers from Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez and they basically have no one to score the goals. This did not happen for Joelinton or Miguel Almiron. Then you can slowly but surely build around.
How will we remember the Mike Ashley era?
Steve Howey: I think fans will see this as a time when the club’s potential has been completely and completely overlooked. There have been times when they have finished the season fairly well and you think “now is the time to continue” and they did not because of the investment.
There was a lack of transparency and I think it’s not just how the fans were treated, but also the excellent servants of the club – Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton, Jonas Gutierrez.
Because of Mike Ashley, there is now a void, a big gap between the fans and the club, and the fans and the players. The fans are so frustrated with the decisions he made. I think they will see it as 13 years of misery, to be completely honest. It was not good at all. And that’s why the fans are really placing their hopes in this ongoing takeover.
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