Mike Ashley is an unpopular figure in Newcastle. At a club that has United in its name, he is the epitome of that on Tyneside — in that he has united fans in their anger towards him.
His unwillingness to invest in the club; His failure to support Rafa Benitez’s vision for the way forward; His apparent preference for his high street empire over St James’ Park; His perceived use of the stadium as a free — or cheap at best — billboard to advertise his sportswear company; his habit of rewarding his friends who speak well of him to his preferred media partners; the list goes on… and on…
When he came out and announced publicly in December that he was “hopeful”, for the fans, that he would be able to “step aside” to sell the club, the relief and joy across Tyneside was unbounded.
Finally the fans could celebrate the beginning of the end for the penny-pinching owner.
That joy was short-lived. The warning signs were there in January, when reports surfaced that the proposed deal — led by former Manchester United executive, Peter Kenyon — was under threat, due to an inability to raise the funds required.
And earlier this month, rumours that the club had now been, effectively, taken off the market by Ashley, left fans angry, disappointed and perplexed.
Add to that, concern over where this leaves their idol, Benitez — amid constant gossip that he will leave — and you have a fan-base that has plunged from seeing a ray of hope into the dark depths of despair.
But Ashley’s claim, in his now infamous Sky Sports interview in 2017, that when it comes to buying Newcastle United, the investors are not there, does not sit well.
Sorry Mike, but it is not the potential investors, it is the fans, who are not buying it!
There are wealthy businessmen and consortia who are not just interested in buying a Premier League club, but actively trying to.
Whether they are from China, the Middle East, India, America, or even here in Britain, they are there.
The problem lies with Ashley himself. He makes the noises he thinks fans want to hear — hinting at selling, or interested parties.
But that is all it is — noise.
If his interest to sell were genuine, he would ask a realistic price. He would not keep moving the goalposts. He would not care about them having the “nought on the end” to take the club forward. He would not make the process such a hoop-jumping fiasco.
The plain fact is, he has no real intention of relinquishing his Sports Direct cash-cow. The rumblings of buyers comes around every time protests, and threatened boycotts, are gathering pace. And then, when the dust settles, he dismisses the ‘buyers’ as “exhausting” or a “complete waste of time”.
It’s like pressing Ctrl, Alt, Del on a computer and resetting the system until next year.
The truth is, if he genuinely, truly and absolutely wanted to sell Newcastle United, we are sure he could do it, and do it in a matter of weeks.
Pitch the club, and its fanbase, to the right people, in the right way, with the right intentions, and they would be eagerly signing on the dotted line.
So let it be known — Newcastle fans see through your smokescreens, and will not fall for it.
What are your thoughts Newcastle fans? Is there potential investors who would buy the club from Ashley if he genuinely wanted to sell? Let us know your thoughts…
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