Jonathan Cleland spoke out last week concerning speculation he was putting together a consortium of South African businessmen, to mount a serious bid to buy Newcastle United Football Club.
But since then quite a number of prominent and rich South Africans, including Brian Joffe, Johann Rupert and Vivian Imerman, who were linked with the deal, have denied any involvement with Cleland.
Indeed Johann Rupert was annoyed that Cleland, whom he has never even met, was using his name at all.
Cleland told the Evening Chronicle:
“The vision, the plan and the strategy for the club all remain unchanged.” “The challenge now is coming up with the money after some of our preferred backers indicated they were no longer interested.”
“But I think finding the money is the easiest part and I am still confident we will be able to get some great people on board and make the deal happen.”
Cleland’s comments are a little amazing, and we can tell him that finding the money will not be easy – not with the global credit crisis we have, where credit is almost impossible to get.
And there is debate about whether there is a deadline of when bids need to be in to buy Newcastle, since Joe Kinnear says Mike Ashley told him there is, and yet Keith Harris, who is handling the sale for Mike Ashley, says there isn’t and never has been.
“Nobody has told me about any deadline. What I understand is that (club owner) Mike Ashley is a serious player and will listen to all approaches whenever they come in, provided the club hasn’t already been sold, of course.”
“I am not an athlete running towards the finishing tape, we have a serious plan and vision and three of the core individuals still remain in the consortium.”
When you mount a bid for a football club, the strategy and things like that are not the first things you look at – that is always how you are going to get the money, especially in these difficult times for credit. So we think these words by Cleland have lost him credibility.
We have a great strategy for the club, and know exactly who the manager should be, and how the youth policy should operate and how the club should be structured – we have it all – except around £350M. 😀