Sir John Hall, who paved the way for sports retail tycoon Ashley to buy Newcastle United last year by suddenly selling his over 40% stake in the club, feels Newcastle will now fall in to foreign ownership.
Sir John Hall talked to Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek:
”There’s nobody in Britain wealthy enough who’d be interested in investing in a football club. Who has this sort of mega-money?””Even Mike Ashley was finding it difficult with his wealth because £200M is a lot of money. Premier League clubs are being bought as toys.”
“They’ll have them for a few years, then throw them away. These people don’t know the passion of the fans. The Premier League is a tremendous brand but I fear for the game and for the fans.”
“When I met Mike Ashley and his advisors, they had the best intentions for the club,” “He wanted to stay there and develop it, so I feel sad for him and sad for the club.”
“He’s a good businessman but a novice in the game, as I was when I first came into it. He was coming in to build for the long run and he is a football fan. He had a long-term vision.”
We agree it will not be good for the game, if for example the new Manchester City owners go about in January trying to buy players for £100M. If they do that, where does that leave the soul of the Manchester club? Then they’d be like Chelsea are right now – a top club only because £350M has been spent on players – give me a break. That’s what John Hall is talking about.
It’s not at all surprising the biggest game in the world, and the best league in the world, has foreigners wanting to buy into the Premier League clubs. It’s truly a world market right now, and we believe there’s quite a few buyers who have come into the fray for Newcastle, since Keith Harris was appointed last week.
There’s a potential South African partnership in for the club, but that was reported in the News Of The World, so lacks some credibility, but don’t be surprised if a Russian enters the fray, since they are a football loving country with lots of billionaires over there.
We understand there are now seven offers for the club, that Ashley and Harris believe are for real, and Harris will be recommending one of these to Mike by the end of the week.
Things should then move quickly from that point.