Newcastle Sold This Month – We’ll Believe It When It Happens

While the Times this morning is suggesting strongly that Mike Ashley is thinking about keeping Newcastle for the next year, Keith Harris, Chairman of Seymour Pierce Bank, charged with selling the club still thinks he can sell the club this month.


Keith Harris – Newcastle can be sold this month

Mike Ashley has been told Newcastle will be sold by the end of this month – once the club has rid itself off a handful of its biggest wage earners.

Not surprisingly Ashley has been a little frustrated at the lack of progress, since he put the club up for sale for £100M at the end of May.

With the end of August fast approaching and the first Championship game at WBA on Saturday, time is quickly running out to get the squad in order for the coming season, and to slash the wage bill to around £35M, which the Newcastle club will be able to afford this season.

But Keith Harris, back from his two week vacation, last night insisted he is within weeks of getting new owners for the club.

How many times have we heard that one in the last 10 months?

Keith said last night:

“It is not a shocking guess to say that sometime this month something positive will come out of it,”

“It would have been ideal for it to happen before next Saturday but clearly that won’t happen.”

We estimate Newcastle’s wage bill at around £56M right now, and that has scared off prospective buyers who want evidence that costs can be slashed and big transfer income brought in from players.

The sale of Oba Martins for £9M to Wolsfburg last week has helped a lot, and it would appear that that Sebastien Bassong, Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez and Habib Beye will all be sold as soon as possible to bring the books in order.

Geremi and Smith are also on around £3m/year in wages and need to be taken off the books.

But why is it just now that this is being realized?

We have said throughout the summer that the club needs to sell players to reduce the wage bill, unless somebody is going to invest £30M – £40M to cushion the impact of the current huge wage bill.

This is hardly rocket science, after all, and it will also put the Newcastle books in order, which by all accounts is what has put off potential buyers of the club.

Yet what did Ashley and LLambias do?

They put a moratorium on outgoing transfers which has only just been lifted presumably with the transfer of Oba Martins to Wolfsburg and it took 9 weeks to sell our first player.

We’ve heard a lot of this before from Keith Harris, and we are quickly thinking that Ashley could give up on the sale, at least for a year, and bring in a new permanent manger to run the club shortly.

After all in a year’s time Mike may have a Premier league club again, and that will be worth a lot more than £100M.

Comments welcome.

41 comments so far

  • Mark-o

    Aug 5, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #1

    Same sh*t storey, different day. Glad to see its come from someone who speaks a bit of sense though.

  • Toon Graeme

    Aug 5, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #2

    The impression I got from Keith Harris last night was that the ball is moving at pace and the wage bill + drop in media money was resulting in the delay in the club being sold.

    He was not gonna directly disclose the finer details on national radio.

    As for Ash keeping the club with hope to get back in the prem and sell then. Well he gambles on us staying up and well duff’s boot put stops to that!

    My support for the team is unquestionable – my faith however is a different story. Who can hand on heart say we are good enough to get back first attempt?

    We all know what we need and that is new players who can cut it in the championship and a manager. Is that Shearer? Doubt it.

  • ArtyH

    Aug 5, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #3

    Ed, do you really think he is going to get it right in the third season???
    I can only see relegation again with the current nobba’s in charge!

  • telford

    Aug 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #4


  • ArtyH

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #5

    Just as a point of interest, the sale of Martins was £9m, does that com off the price of the club??? Is it now £91m, and also less his wages it should ease the sale along a bit???

  • liam85

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #6

    I’m getting fed up of waiting!
    Why do we get news like the club will be sold.. then you get other news saying Mike Ashley will keep the club!!
    arrrrrrr, it’s really getting to me now!

  • trimac

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #7

    I actually posted this link last night but it was held up for moderation and apologies if it has already has been posted before but I came across it a couple of nights ago.
    Only the initial post and post number nine are relevant but what caught my attention was the date that the thread was raised. If correct then it certainly took a long time to hit the press and just illustrates how long rumours can last or be made to last.

  • King Bob the first

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #8

    yawn boring


    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #9

    Another point of interest, if Orville’s very best friend was charged with selling this club, why has he been on 2 weeks bliddy vacation/holiday/annual leave/doing bugger all?

  • Graeme

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #10

    According to that well respected purveyor of truth and wisdom – “The Mirror”!!! Mike Ashley is quoted as confirming that the sale of the club will be completed quite soon, before the end of the month!!!

    He is also quoted as saying “The club will not be sold to the previous regime of Shepard and Co!!!

    How much of any of that is close to accurate is anyones guess!!!!

  • Billy Bunter

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #11

    Lads – there is a full blown press conference on Friday! It is confirmed!

    Hope its good news either way – will update you as I am bound to get more crack as it gets closer, she doesn’t know who is taking it though.

  • Stuart79

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #12

    Billy Bunter // Aug 5, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Lads – there is a full blown press conference on Friday! It is confirmed!

    Hope its good news either way – will update you as I am bound to get more crack as it gets closer, she doesn’t know who is taking it though.


  • sirjasontoon

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #13


  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #14

    Is anyone listening to Radio 5?

    JFK has just said that Mike Ashley offered him a two year contract at Newcastle two weeks ago.

    Remember the Daily Mail story and that my cousin (Sports Editor) had told me this also.

    JFK is playing it down a bit now, and saying he knows nothing about the Newcastle denial of the story. Confusion reins.

  • simon376

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #15

    Love to think it was moe Billy, but there has to be a press confeence on Friday, it’s the day before a match, always one

  • chuck

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #16

    Dont look good folks, does`nt look like we will ever get the club sold.
    Dread to think of what kind of future is in store for us.
    Kieth Harris has been on holliday, obviously nothing has been going on there, now he returns with a bull***t story about being close to a sale.
    Sorry Kieth we bin listening to that worn out rap since the end of the season.
    Truth be told, there are a lotta fans who no longer give a toss, about the sale , the club, the players, Ashley, you name it !
    I am curious about one thing, what would have happened, where would we be at this time, had Ashley not bought the team ?
    I know MA would have been £150m. better off, perhaps the collapse was inevitable and looking at the financial structure of many PL teams it could perhaps be a re-accuring theme, with the
    poorly managed teams starting the general collapse of the league.
    There has been a number of voices echoing this warning for some time now, it`s not something I have dreampd up.

  • Billy Bunter

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #17

    Aye wey – youll see. Me relative has told me 100% its on. remember Bunter telt yous first.

  • cam_toon

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #18

    @ Billy…

    Is that not your normal pre-match press conference.???

    As you would expect before every game.

  • Billy Bunter

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #19

    Ah – need to check that one Cam_toon – Ive texted her to check

  • Toon Chicken

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #20

    Haha – there’s a full-blown 100% official press conference on the eve of every first team game – you bloomin numpty! 🙂

  • Billy Bunter

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #21

    Aye it is for the game – sorry – made a right plug of mesell with me inside scoop there didnt i

  • hitman

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #22

    where away to wba so i doubt ch will be in the north east, unless its friday mornings conference like,you will have find out the time of it billy.


    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #23

    If you are the buyer you now have 26 days to get rid of about 8 high earners and get 8 new players in-it looks unlikely.
    Its beyond my understanding why we are only now selling players unless we had no offers because surely reducing the wage bill will make the club more saleable.
    Ashley can hang on-he can sell 20m worth of players and use that money to subsidise the wages.

  • Stuart79

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #24


    JFK hasn’t got a great track record when it comes to tellin the truth does he?

    I think he’s just talking shite again to get his profile up.

    Ashley surely wouldn’t do that.

    If JFK comes back I’m out of here!

  • Billy Bunter

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #25

    Hitman Donna said it was for the match on me text

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #26

    The problem with selling high earners is that they will not leave unless their salaries are maintained. This often means that the selling club has to pick up the difference in salaries.

    Add to this the fact that you need to buy and pay another player, then it could be that you end up no better off.

    It is necessary to sell the player and make sure you are not still paying his wages. Considering that clubs like Hull don’t have huge incomes and may struggle to pay wages and would very likely want clauses in contracts that would be tied to which division they are playing in makes it quite difficult to move these players on.

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #27


    I agree with you there, but don’t all of these idiots have the same problem?

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #28


    The thing is Stu my cousin was sure JFK was being made manager a couple of weeks ago. He doesn’t tell me lies but I obviously don’t know his sources.

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #29

    JFK comeback is not on the cards. In the interview he said he had been offered the job two weeks ago but he could not take up the post for three months and he was mulling over the contract.

    As we hope the club will be sold by the end of the month then it doesn’t matter what he has been offered.

    It could also be a ploy by MA to put pressure on the people buying the club. It’s all very murky.

    The radio show tonight should be an interesting listen.

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #30

    As you can see, I have a lot of time on my hands at the moment.


    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #31

    Reading the Harris interview it seems the buyer expressed the concern i would have-how can i , in fact can i at all get rid of these high earners and Ashley is now showing you can but interestingly he says the buyer gets the money from the sales.
    So has the buyer instructed the club to start selling or has Ashley decided to anyway.
    26 more days of this!!

  • Stuart79

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #32

    Fckin Kinnear!

    Just been on TalkSport saying he has been offered a 2 year contract then said the club was close to be sold, then said it had fallen through!

    Good god what is happening at our club?

    BBC say Mike Ashley has no comment to make at the moment.

  • RyanToon

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #33

    kinnear is cracking up

  • RyanToon

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #34

    what a suprise

    Ashley has no comment to make

    w a n k e r

  • Stuart79

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #35


    The wind has well and truly been knocked out of my sails!

    It doesn’t look good!

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #36

    The way of selling players is to say that my players are not for sale.

    Hope that more than one club wants your players and then an auction can commence.

    What we do not want is to be running about screaming that we cannot get rid of players and we have to so so because we cannot afford to pay their wages. The media are doing this for us unfortunately.

    You have to play a canny (Scottish canny, not Geordie canny) game.

  • bill

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #37

    I wouldn’t get wound up about JFK. He was offered the job two weeks ago. Keith Harris was talking about a new era last night.

    I would tend to believe that Kieth Harris since he is up to date with events and is a professional.

  • pubcat

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #38

    Hang on, Ed. one minute you’re saying Smith should be captain this season then you’re saying that he should be taken off the books!

    It would probably be better if MA pledges to stay and re-invest if the club isn’t sold within the next week that for it to be sold after a lot more players have left and when there’s no time to get players in?

    I hope that these senior players stay for this season (some of who obviously will stay, others more uncertain). If we have at least this kind of nucleus then, okay, it would be fine if a buyer takes over after the transfer window is shut.

    both Taylors
    Barton (I suppose!)
    Amoebi (out of necessity)

    Then let the youngsters make up the rest of the squad, and add to it in January.

    By the way, it’s kind of laughable when you read a headline like “Newcastle duo to grace Premier League again with the mighty Aston Villa?” No Prem team aside from those who have proved it in recent years are particularly “mighty”. What has happened to Man City and the Toon, for example, could easily have been exactly reversed. It’s a lottery really. For their own part, Villa might have a few great seasons under O’Neill, then lose him, have a bad season and find themselves in the Championship in a few years. Only Man Utd, Chelsea (through initial financial luck a few years back), Arsenal and Liverpool are certain bankers really. There’s no room for smugness amongst any of the rest.

  • Geordiedoonsooth

    Aug 5, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #39

    Could be worse I suppose we could be Portsmouth supporters

  • toonoholic

    Aug 5, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #40

    i dont get how getting rid of bassong will improve the wage debt ? hes on a lowly 3.5 k a week if i was wrong.

    biggest earners
    and even shola on 40k

    sell 4-5 players of that and thats ur 20 mn reduction.


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