Mike Ashley is closer than ever before to selling Newcastle United. Should the deal go through it will end thirteen years of a very unhappy marriage.
Lie after lie, poor decision after poor decision. When Ashley’s reign as Newcastle United owner finally comes to an end, it will not be a pretty read.
Thirteen years of toxicity, soul-sucking, two relegations and the crushing a loyal fan base.
Newcastle supporters won’t have to wait much longer to be rid of a man that has destroyed a proud and historic football club. A club that’s on its knees waiting to be released from its handcuffs.
Newcastle United are on the verge of a change in ownership, according to the Shields Gazette, with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Amanda Staveley and the Rueben Brothers all involved.
The potential takeover of Newcastle United is now in the hands of the Premier League. There have been countless takeover stories throughout Ashley’s ownership. The majority of those were to manipulate supporters into renewing their season tickets when threats of a boycott were raised.
Unlocking Newcastle United’s Potential
Those that understand Newcastle as a city, not just the club will know that it has huge potential. With a takeover of this magnitude, Newcastle can be reborn, the sleeping giant can rise.
A closer look at St James’ Park and Newcastle’s training ground shows the years of neglect under Ashley. No real improvements just a lick of paint now and again to cover the huge cracks that constantly reappear.
When you think of Newcastle United, you think of Kevin Keegan – His first and his second coming. You think of the Entertainers, Alan Shearer breaking records, Sir Bobby Robson and those wonderful European nights.
This is a club steeped in history, it is a unique club, a unique place. Geordies work extremely hard to be able to afford to support their side each week. Keegan summed it up perfectly when stating: “When they’ve worked all week, the match for them, it’s a bit like people down south going to the theatre.”
The new owners have to understand the area, without doing so they will fail. Newcastle is similar to Liverpool in the sense it is a working-class city with the main focus of their week being their football club. No matter where you walk in the city, you will see a black and white shirt or you will hear countless conversations of the previous weekend’s match.
Newcastle United is a big club, there’s no doubting that. Even with Newcastle’s fall from grace over the last thirteen years, St James’ Park still attracts 52,000 passionate and loyal Geordies. The new owners must harness the passion, drive and loyalty of the Geordie spirit.
Newcastle supporters love to see their team giving 100% on the pitch every week, that view will never change. A banner once read: “We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a team that tries.” Thanks to the incredibly hard work of former manager Rafael Benitez – Newcastle have a side that does just that.
You cannot just throw millions and millions at a club without a strategy. That has been a failed formula for years. There has to be a structure put in place that allows the club to grow and to thrive over a period of time.
Instant success is just not possible, especially with the amount of work that the new owners have ahead of them on Tyneside. From investing in the facilities and academy to investing in the first team. Staveley and Co have their work cut out for them but should they get it right it will be worth every penny they’ve invested.
What it means for the North East
North East football has been declining for many years. Sunderland and Middlesbrough have struggled since their respective relegations from the Premier League. For a football-mad region, it has been incredibly sad to see the recent plight of all three clubs.
The takeover of Newcastle will have a positive impact on the region, not just Newcastle. It will put the region in the spotlight. The North East isn’t like London – where there are countless clubs within a close distance. This is a place where football is a religion, the stadium is a church – living and breathing every kick of the football.
The potential new owners of Newcastle are set to invest in the surrounding areas. Similar to what happened when Manchester City changed ownership in 2010. The North East deserves to be in the spotlight because people should be able to see just how special the region is.
The takeover of Newcastle will give hope to Middlesbrough and Sunderland that things can get better. The North East is a hotbed for football, the people of the region deserve more than what has been delivered to them over the last decade or so.
A change in mentality
Once all the papers have been signed and the takeover has been made official, there will be a change in mentality. Newcastle supporters will no longer have to be put in an awful position of debating whether to attend St James’ Park. For too long supporters have been made to feel guilty about attending games, as it meant lining Ashley’s pockets.
Those that left because of Ashley’s ownership will gradually return. There will be a weight lifted from the shoulders of Newcastle supporters. If there was a club that deserved this kind of takeover it would be Newcastle United.
Newcastle United will be a powerhouse. With the finances involved in this deal, the sky really is the limit. The club will finally have something called ambition, something it has been starved of for over a decade. Those from the outside looking in have no idea just how badly the club has been run over the last thirteen years.
Little to no investment, crumbling facilities and a fanbase left firmly in the dark. This will be a welcome change for Newcastle supporters. A change they deserve because of what they have had to suffer through for thirteen long years.
These are exciting times for Newcastle United. Until a deal has been made official, those dark thoughts still remain in the back of the mind. Ashley could yet pull the plug on this but that would not surprise a single soul on Tyneside.