Newcastle United Ownership: A New Chapter?

The statue to former manager Sir Bobby Robson, situated outside the Milburn Stand of the stadium before Newcastle United host Tottenham Hotspurs in an English Premier League match at St. James' Park. The match was boycotted by a section of the home support critical of the role of owner Mike Ashley and sponsorship by a payday loan company. The match was won by Spurs by 3-1, watched by 47,427, the lowest league gate of the season at the stadium. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Newcastle United have had a formal takeover bid offered in the region of £300 million. Could this be the new chapter that the fans need?

The financial firm involved, PCP Capital Partners, has tabled the formal bid in an effort to take over from current owner Mike Ashley. Although there has been no comment from the club, many supporters will be hopeful of a quick resolution and the exit of a man who was never accepted by the fans.

Ashley had not always been a divisive figure. Born in Buckinghamshire, he accumulated his wealth through a number of high street sports stores, before buying Newcastle United in 2007. Initially, he was liked by the supporters. He was a young owner, who appeared to genuinely care for the club and identified with the fanbase. He even chose to sit amongst the fans during games, shunning more formal environments.

Newcastle United Ownership: A New Chapter?

Cockney Mafia

Things began to turn sour with the appointment of Dennis Wise as Director of Football. Club legend and then manager Kevin Keegan began to grumble about working alongside such a role. Rumours circulated about Wise becoming involved in team matters, undermining Keegan. The result was the manager resigning and Ashley being maligned by the fans. He’s never recovered.

But it wasn’t just the ‘Cockney Mafia’ era that turned the tide of support against him. Results on the pitch were woeful, leading the club to its first relegation since the inception of the Premier League in 1993.

The blame was quickly shifted away from the players. Despite some terrible performances on the pitch, the media jumped on the problems behind the scenes. Ashley was vilified as an outsider, someone who wasn’t a northerner and couldn’t relate to northern culture. Once the tide had turned, there was no way back or him.

For Sale

The club was put up for sale for the first time in 2009, the year they were relegated. Despite the turmoil in the boardroom, the club were promoted back into the Premier League at the first time of trying. Ashley, in an apparent change of heart, decided the club were no longer for sale.

The saga continued for a while, with the club being in £100 million of debt. The only respite was the reintroduction of European football, where the club reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.

However, the club again started to sink towards the relegation zone. The players at the club were not good enough to stay up and they were sent into crisis again. Rafa Benítez was not able to keep the club up and they were again condemned to another exit from the Premier League.

Newcastle United – The Future

If the takeover bid is accepted, the Ashley reign will be over. Newcastle United fans are some of the most passionate in the game and will no doubt be happy to see the back of him. The Magpies are a massive club and deserve to be competing for titles, or at least European qualification.

Until the issues around the club are sorted, it won’t move forward. That being said, there aren’t many problems. Results on the pitch are stable at the moment. Benítez is a top manager and will no doubt lead the club forwards on the pitch. If Ashley is to accept the bid, the club can build its new identity off the pitch.

 

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