Mike Ashley’s reign as Newcastle owner took a step closer to ending this morning (Thursday) as it was confirmed that the Premier League had received the paperwork from PCP Partners, a Saudi Arabian Consortium led by Amanda Staveley who are likely to seize control of the ‘Toon’ for an estimated £300 million.
The retail tycoon who owns Sports Direct amongst other retail brands brought the club back in May 2007 as he branched into football ownership, taking over a club that had become stagnant after failing to reach the Champions League for four seasons. Ashley’s reign started with optimism for the Geordie faithful as their new owner was spotted in the stands amongst fans drinking beer and cheering on his new side managed by Sam Allardyce.
Newcastle fans believed to dream that the retail tycoon was set to take the club back to the upper echelons of the Premier League, but a failed stint as manager from Allardyce was the start of a slippery slope that saw Ashley never be able to endear himself to the Newcastle fans.
There were stints, albeit in small glimmers that Ashley was being warmed to by the Newcastle fans. The return of Kevin Keegan as Manager, alongside the return of Alan Shearer as caretaker Manager and the arrival of Rafa Benitez all offered hope to the North East club that they would rise again, however there were too many extraordinary events and misplace in trust in people that caused Ashley’s eventual downfall.
Lifelong Newcastle fan Ollie Eden says that Ashley “offered no hope” to the Newcastle fans. “He just offered no hope in terms of competition. I think he put his trust in the wrong people”.
Eden adds: “He never connected with the people of the North East”.
An appointment of former Wimbledon Manager Joe Kinnear raised eyebrows across the North East and the footballing world, whilst Ashley riled Toon fans in 2009 as he renamed the clubs famously known St James Park ground to the Sports Direct Arena in a way to boost his other business interests....it never sat well with Newcastle fans. The failure to secure Rafa Benitez as manager last summer was considered by many as the nail in the coffin for Ashley with many believing that it showed a lack of passion., it appeared that anything that brought Newcastle fans joy was quickly removed by Ashley.
The arrival of Steve Bruce did nothing to appease the 'Toon' fan base who used their feet to protest against Ashley this season, however Bruce has steadied a sinking ship although his removal as manager is expected once the takeover is completed.
Amanda Staveley will bring with her a commitment to return Newcastle to the top end of the Premier League and billions of pounds of Saudi Arabian money......it is time for the 'Toon' to be excited and for football to prepare for Man City mark two.