The Telegraph is reporting that Mike Ashley is shaking up the executive ranks at Newcastle as he looks for investors or even an outright buyer for the Newcastle United club.
The news is that Ashley has brought Justin Barnes into the club and he is one of the most powerful trusted executives of the English Billionaire.
The lawyer has been described as a “fixer upper” and “a reliable deal maker” and his appearance at the club and his rather caustic personality has reportedly already ruffled some feathers.
In other reports we have seen in some initial research on Barnes is that he is described as the man who puts the boot in for Mike Ashley.
Mike Ashley and Justin Barnes, Newcastle new get things done man
It’s a strange deal because Barnes is not employed by the club, he continues work directly for Ashley.
But he nevertheless has a big say in how things are done at the club – and his main role seems to be to attract investors to buy a stake in Newcastle.
How he’s going to do that is an interesting question, because a lot of attracting outside investors is how Newcastle do on the field and how good our financial sanding is now and likely to be in the future in the future – which of course very much depends on success on the field.
Let’s hope his appearance at the club is not bothering Rafa Benitez too much and it looks like Justin should be busy mostly on the financial side of things.
Lee Charnley is said to have already had to run financial decisions past Barnes over the last few weeks before he goes to Mike Ashley to make any deal in the transfer market.
The best outcome in all of this for Newcastle is probably to keep Mike as the majority owner, but get maybe up to as much as £200M investment into the club from outside investors.
That will stand us in good stead to match the top six in the league at least on a financial basis.
It looks like Barnes has worked directly for Ashley for the last several years and he will continue to work that way as he is given a job to do for Newcastle United on Ashley’s behalf.
A strange position for Barnes and more troublesome for Lee Charnley in his current position than anybody else at Newcastle.
His role is reported by the Telegraph to ensure than if and when investors come in they are able to handle the negotiations quickly and get the investment done.
Newcastle financial books and other things investors will want to look at closely during due diligence must all be in good order.
In the past Barnes has made a number of acquisitions for Sports Direct while also working directly for Mike Ashley.
This seems a move to both attract investors but also get the deal done as quickly as possible, so Barnes’ role is to ensure everything is in order that potential investors will want to study and understand (quickly).
It’s to get investment into the club and that allows Mike to share the financial risk, so it’s a good thing long term for Newcastle as Rafa tries to build a team on the field that will challenge the best in Europe in a few years time.
As long as Barnes doesn’t upset Rafa Benitez or the stability of the club, everything should be OK.
What do you think?