It was back in October that Mike Ashley announced his intention to put the club up for sale when he informed supporters that,
"As one of the Premier League's oldest and best supported football clubs - and for the benefit of its many fans and supporters in the UK and across the world - Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.”
“To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.”
“To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments.”
Amanda Staveley and her team showed their hand quite early; and not long after Ashley’s statement was released. It was heavily reported at the time that he wanted the club sold before Christmas, such was his eagerness to end his tenure on Tyneside; therefore they studiously conducted their due diligence and posted their offer after a full and forensic assessment of the club. And key to that valuation was the presence of Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle United supporters aren’t stupid. They know a good a manager when they see one and so do PCP Capital Partners. Indeed, in Rafa Benitez both see a world-class manager; one that they want to remain in place to realise the investment that is on the table. Wild speculation questioning Rafa’s commitment, ability or desire from whatever quarter is unhelpful at best and serves no purpose other than to destabilise proceedings at a time when everyone needs to be staying calm and pulling together.
Supporters also know with certainty that PCP Capital Partners are the only show in town when it comes to a desire to purchase the football club. They should also know therefore that it was the presence of Rafa Benitez, his passion, his desire for success and his standing in the game that attracts them to consider investing in Newcastle United.
Our understanding is that PCP have serious plans for Newcastle United; a Newcastle United with Rafa Benitez at the helm. They want to realise those plans; have funds available that would bring continuous improvement to the playing squad over the next three transfer windows and beyond. They do not see relegation as a threat to those plans and indeed, those plans show that they and their investors are in this for the long haul.
How do we know? Because we asked them!
Put simply, they are Ashley’s only hope if he seriously wants that clean break; selling to someone who wants to take the club forward and provide the investment needed to take the club to that next level that he himself says he cannot provide.