We reported on Sunday that a Nigerian consortium of media moguls and oil barons had said they had already amassed £350M to buy Newcastle United, and that story is the prevalent one over the last couple of days in the English media.
Kevin Keegan – Nigerian Consortium would reinstate him as manager
The source of the story is that the Chief Executive Officer of the NVA Management, Chris Nathaniel told KickOffNigeria.com that the club had raised £350M, but were trying to meet Ashley’s asking price of £400M.
Mike has often said he didn’t buy Newcastle to make money, but that’s rather hard to believe when £400M gives Ashley a £155M profit and 63% on the deal in just 16 months. But maybe that’s why he’s a Billionaire. Mike paid around £135M for the club in May of last year and pumped in another £110M to pay down the debt.
It’s also now being reported that if this group is successful in their bid to buy the club, they will bring back Kevin Keegan as manager, and presumably Terry McDermott and Adam Sadler will also get their jobs back.
The eight-strong group are reportedly now keen to hold talks with the Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, according to The Sun. With Seymour Pierce Bank given the job of selling the club last night, we would expect Seymour Chairman Keith Harris to meet with the group shortly – if this story has any truth to it.
The new news The Sun is reporting is the Nigerian consortium has now lodged a bond of £200M with a respected lawyer, so Newcastle United can see evidence of their serious intent to buy. Two months ago, they made a visit to the UK to watch the team play at Manchester United, and it is reported they have been working on a buyout plan ever since.
Chris Nathaniel has been hired as a consultant and insists the consortium are serious players, and he made the lengthy statement to KickOffNigeria.com on Sunday.
Nathaniel said today:
“These people are not messing about. They are genuine, highly regarded businessmen in Nigeria who want to make a deal happen.”
“They will bring back Kevin Keegan immediately as manager and there will be £75M made available to buy players.”
“The interest in the Premier League in Nigeria and the whole of Africa is huge and buying an English club is seen as the next big step for a football-mad country”
“We have made contact with people at Newcastle and let our interest be known but our group has not yet spoken to Mike Ashley himself.”
“The ball is in Ashley’s court. The money is there and if he is determined to sell, these men will be round the table with him as soon as he gives the word.”
“They realize how important Keegan’s presence is to the fans and they will be delighted to bring him back.”
Those are all good words, and 75M will convince Kevin they are serious about making Newcastle successful again. The words above are framed to get Newcastle fans on their side, but we have to remember this is a report in The Sun, which hardly has good credibility on many things to do with football news.
However the statement is at least consistent with what Nathanial said on Sunday, and if indeed this is true that’s got to be good news for the very long suffering Newcastle fans.
Of course the big unknown here, is who the eight businessmen are, and how exactly did they amass their fortunes in Nigeria, which is a country hardly devoid of financial scandals and turmoil.
But as loyal Newcastle fans, we really do hope they are legitimate, and also hope this story is true, and certainly their wish to bring back Kevin will ensure the side will very quickly regain lost momentum this season.
And of course the playing staff will be absolutely delighted.
Comments always welcome, but please keep all comments decent – many thanks.