Putting two and two together often doesn’t come out as four in the world of media stories and football speculation, but the fact that a story in a national newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch came out only a couple of days before Mike Ashley appears on a Murdoch owned sports news channel telling us he wants to sell the club, is surely more than a coincidence for even the most conscious of conspiracy theorists among our fanbase.
Ashley wants out. He can’t compete in his own words with “the finances of a country” and unfortunately that is the way that football in general and premier league football in particular seems to be heading.
In the 1980’s we heard from then Chairman Gordon McKeag that he wasn’t a wealthy man and couldn’t compete with the millionaires now entering football. Move on to 2007 and multi Millionaire Sir John Hall told us that he couldn’t compete with the oligarchs from Russia, which even he stated was a direct pop at Abramovich and the riches he was beholding on Chelsea.
Move forward another ten years and we have a situation where a billionaire can’t compete with multi billionaires, multi national corporations and sovereign wealth funds with money to burn and who see the premier league as the furnace to satisfy their burning ambitions.
So, who out there could afford to buy a Premier League team; and just as importantly, who out there could broker such a deal to purchase Newcastle United?
Well, in corporate terms, one organisation in particular has been mentioned; PCP Capital Partners, their CEO Amanda Staveley and her legal partner, Craig Eadie. According to reports, businesswoman Ms. Staveley heads up an investment fund made up of money largely coming from oil-rich states in the Middle East and is actively looking on behalf of her investors to see if there is a club in the top flight that would be vulnerable to a takeover.
Apparently, buying a Premier League club is one of Ms. Staveley’s main targets, having previously been heavily involved in takeover deals at two clubs in the past; they being Liverpool and Manchester City and Newcastle United will undoubtedly be one of a number of clubs that will now be on the radar of potential suitors. What we have in our favour is that Newcastle United offers any possible owner a united club managed by a world class manager; a fanatical and international fanbase, an enviable history, a wonderful stadium in a one club city and a potential that exceeds any other in the premier league .
So, could Ms. Staveley and PCP Capital Partners provide the escape route that Ashley is looking for. Could they broker the deal that brings to an end Ashley’s ten-year tenure on Tyneside and could a new beginning for Newcastle United be on the horizon?