As we had suspected, Joe Kinnear was in contact with Mike Ashley on Wednesday, but only by phone, but what he heard is not what fans had hoped for.
Mike Ashley – may not be able to sell the club – then what?
Kinnear says that Mike said that none of the 3 serious bidders have provided any proof yet that thye have the money to buy the club. That doesn’t say they don’t have it, but it seems, as we reported yesterday, that the Chelsea game will be a key date, and there should be some statement from Mike Ashley at that time.
It seems it could either be that we have a new buyer, or that Mike has tried to sell and couldn’t find a suitable buyer, and of course the world-wide recession and financial situation is hardly a great time to buy a football club.
Joe spoke about the situation:
“I know that after the Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge on November 22 it is D-day. After that it will all be revealed,” “Either it will be sold or they’ve changed their minds.” “And I think you will (get a statement from Mike Ashley or the club) after the Chelsea game. I think Mike will have to – it’s been a long time without anything being said now.”
“I think I was originally brought in for eight games and in that time span he thought the club would be sold. Now if it’s not, he’s got to come up with other ideas.” “I think he’s prepared to sit down and say ‘okay – where do we go from here’. At the moment – and I know this for definite because he told me – he is talking to three people. But they haven’t come up with the goods yet.”
“When he talked to me, he said ‘we’ve got three people involved in buying, I’m fairly optimistic but I’m waiting to see if they come up with the cash’. He said ‘all will be revealed after Chelsea (on November 22)’.” “It might be difficult. I think the way he could do that is by saying ‘I haven’t had any buyers offering me the money for the club and therefore he can’t sell it’,”
“I know he’s deeply hurt by what’s happened. I don’t know how he would (begin to heal the rift with supporters). Who does he talk to, what does he say? Does he need to go to the supporters? I don’t really know.”
Kinnear believes that decisions must be made soon – and Joe is showing excellent leadership in that something needs to be said to both him and the players, not to mention the fans, who Mike has just ignored these last couple of months.
But we have contracts to be renegotiated at the club, and if Mike cannot get a buyer we wouldn’t be surprised if some of the players elect to leave the club, unless he comes out and says he will change the way the club is run, and at least say what he will do short term through the end of the season. That though would hardly be comforting to the players.
Michael Owen and Steve Harper in January will be able to talk to other parties, and Michael will definitely get some offers as will Steve, who showed just what a good goalkeeper he is, at the end of last season.
“I have spoken to the players – I think we’ve got three whose contracts are up – and told them I’m not in a position to give you any answers until after Chelsea,”
“I sat them all down before I started and said that I know you’re all going to be chucking questions at me about the state of the club and your own personal contracts. But until I get permission I can’t tell them. If I’m here until the end of the season, then I’ll sort them out.”
“I’d start sitting down and talking to players and then I’d report back to Dennis Wise or Mike. Decisions have to be made, that’s for sure.”
It seems to us that Joe is being used to get the reaction of the fans, should indeed Mike not be able to sell, and Joe is showing good common sense. He has nothing to do with what happened, but he’s come in and done a more than decent job, and some would say he’s been the perfect manager in this unique situation.
He’s a good communicator himself, just like Kevin Keegan, and if we cannot sell the club, we have to at least find a way through this season, so we don’t lose our good players, and then there will be the January transfer market that we must participate in.
If Mike wants to stay for a while he needs to support Joe in the transfer market – and let him bring in 4-5 good players, that would be the very first thing that Mike would need to do – that would take us through January and maybe even survive the rest of the season in the Premier League. The last thing anybody wants is for us to be relegated.
But there is still deep division because of what happened between Mike and the fans, and if we cannot get a buyer by the end of the year, things will be difficult, to say the least, but we must all think of what’s best for the club right now, and not do anything to make the whole situation even worse.
That’s something nobody even thought about in early September, and look at the mess we are in now.