It’s the one story that everyone will want an end too, a football version of Brexit, that seems to be dragging on too long without any definite end in sight. The Newcastle United takeover is taking up most of our time in these unprecedented times of lockdown. Everyone wants and end to this, fans, journalist’s, the buying side, the Premier League and even the selling side. However this takeover has shown the current hierarchy for the ineptitude that has been visible to Newcastle fans for 13 years.
Move the takeover to one side for the moment, and how the club is being run is there for all to see, the radio silence from anyone at the club in a position to give an update is deafening. Communication with the fans is a lock that easily opened, but the club seem to have lost the key.
With Project Restart well underway, with teams back into full contact training, dates set for fixtures to resume, and even FA Cup dates set, and government approval, we are days away from the return to top flight English football. Even though the return of football brings a sense of normality back to this strange world we are currently living in, we won’t be able to enjoy it as we have for decades, by turning up!
This brings an issue around season tickets, and extra tickets fans have bought prior to the lockdown and Covid-19. While other clubs are seeing the issue this raises with ticket money, they have been proactive in offering fans refunds for games they can’t attend, deferrals on next years season ticket price, donating money to the clubs academy and various other options.
But as has become the norm for the powers that be at Newcastle, their response to anything has been used again….”No Comment”. Approaches by the Chronicle and the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) have been met by silence, and an ignorance towards dealing with the issue. There is also the issue of the club continuing to take money for next seasons tickets from those on the 10 year plan, with a real doubt that we could be allowed in stadiums this side of Christmas. Again this has been met met by silence from the club, with seemingly an inability to acknowledge there is even an issue.
News was making the rounds yesterday (Tuesday 2nd June) the Matty Longstaff has an offer on the table from Italian side Udinese. Reports suggest that there is an offer on the table of a 5 year contract, worth £30,000 per week, which is not only double what Newcastle have reportedly offered the North Shields youngster, but as pointed out by one Newcastle fan on twitter, would make Longstaff the highest paid player at the Italian club.
It is well known that Matty is out of contract at the end of the season, and after a decent debut season, there has been talk of numerous top European clubs looking at him. However the management at the club seem to be dragging their heels in offering the academy graduate terms that make him sign a new contract. As clubs are encouraged to bring through young English talent, the club could see one of the best to come through their system in recent years walk away for pennies, because they refuse to sort a contract issue they would have known about long before it was too late, but that is how Ashley likes to do things.
For years Newcastle fans have been telling anyone that would listen, that Mike Ashley is not fit to run the club, but we have been met with answers of “we should thank him!” and “it could be worse”.
The simple fact of the matter is even though the takeover seems to be in the final stretch, Mike Ashley is still the owner of Newcastle United. meaning issues within the club are still for him to resolve, whether he wants to or not. Communication seems to be a dirty word in the corridors of St James’, never mind communicating with fans or the media.
It is obvious that Ashley is hiding behind the Non-Disclosure Agreements he would have signed for the takeover to reach the point it has. But the issues being raised, have nothing to do with disclosing finances, or details of the deal, it is the day-to-day running of the club that seem to be getting ignored now.
You get the feeling, Ashley is that confident the takeover will happen he seems to have completely washed his hands of any responsibility. With Lee Charnley looking for answers to be able to do his job (ability is questionable) he seems to be getting blanked by the Sports Direct owner, which is filtering down to everyone.
Yes the wider picture is the Premier League could probably stop all this by giving an answer either way, but the club have a responsibility to it’s fans and staff to do what is best for the club, again something that has been in question of the past 13 years.
While Ashley hides away in Miami, leaving Charnley to run round like a headless chicken, those who need answers are being ignored. This is a last damning indictment or how the club has been ran. Although Ashley at the end of all this could be £300 million richer! the squad is losing a promising young player, and fans who aren’t on Premier League wages are left out of pocket!
So yes, the takeover is taking time, but it is costing us and the club a lot more than that!