The news unfolded yesterday that Mike Ashley was willing to sell Newcastle and would even defer payments so that a buyer can potentially come in and buy the club before the end of the year.
But we still think that will be difficult.
By making it easier to buy the club is a hint that the price may be too high.
Remember that once the owners buy Newcastle they would need to make some money available for new players as priority one – and then funds would need to be available to improve our facilities – such as the training ground.
Although it now looks rather difficult it would also be good to increase the size of the St. James’ Park capacity to 60,000 fans.
Andrew Henderson of Dentons, who is the lawyer for Ashley’s company St James’ Holdings, was interviewed exclusively by Sky Sports yesterday.
And in this long interview, he talks in detail about the thinking behind the announcement yesterday.
This triumvirate running Newcastle will soon be broken up if sale occurs
It appears that Mike Ashley has done all he is willing to do for Newcastle and it’s simply not enough – especially when we now have Rafa Benitez in place.
This is what Andrew Henderson, who is a partner at Dentons, told Sky Sports:
“There has obviously been a lot of press speculation about Mike’s intentions towards the club.”
“I think that there is a view that over the years there has been a considerable investment, perhaps a feeling that all that can be done has been done.”
“So it is probably just a recognition that it might be time for a change.”
“Our intentions at the moment are to see if the club can be brought forward into new ownership by potentially Christmas.”
“That would allow for a period for serious interested parties to put themselves forward.”
“It would allow for a diligence process to carry on, and then hopefully by Christmas for a sale to conclude with the sort of flexibility around terms we have discussed.”
“If that weren’t possible then there is no desire to sell the club for any price to anyone.”
“There is a lot of responsibility that goes with owning the football club so we would then look at that at the relevant time.”
“That’s the objective but nobody has a crystal ball so nobody can say for sure what happens and when.”
“I think back to the question of price, it will depend on what somebody is prepared to pay for the club,” he said.
“Football clubs have a scarcity value, nobody is making 150-year-old (we were founded 125 years ago) football clubs with the kind of traditions that Newcastle United have so obviously there is value there.”
“But then in terms of what the number is that will be dictated by how many people, how many serious people are interested.”
“How many serious people can deliver and so we then get to how long will that take, how long do we give them.”
“I think that is a matter for negotiation but certainly not all in year one so that’s how we would be approaching it.”
“What’s clear from our point of view is that we are going to be flexible so there is an intention to give.”
“That’s assuming an appropriate person can be found to take the club forward, on exactly how payments are structured.”
“How much would be payable day one, how much might be payable further down the line, so there is a real genuine desire from our point of view to make sure that the club is put in the best possible position going forward.”
“If that means additional funds, us helping with additional funds being available in the short-term, then we would seek to accommodate that.”
“Some will question the price but really there is also a question of value and the values of the club.”
“And as we go through a process now of seeing if there are potential buyers or other parties interested in the club, we will establish what the price is for the club.
“More than that there is also a question of custody of the club, the values, the fans and supporters which are all important as well.”
“I think there is a desire to see the club go forward, advance, flourish, so an appropriate person would have resources, time, a management structure, a plan for the club that was deemed to be appropriate and suitable, so it is a combination of things from our side.”
“We are aware of a number of non-disclosure agreements, we can’t go into the detail of who those are with.”
“There are a number of them, there may well be more to come so parties are at the table as far as we are concerned.”
“We have already seen quite a lot of interest so we don’t expect that to do anything other than accelerate as a result of this announcement.”
“So we will see where we get to but we would expect so. Clubs the size of Newcastle aren’t bought and sold every day.”
This same thing happened in late 2008 after Kevin Keegan left the club so we have to be wary, especially when it appears buyers are balking at the price.
But the fans want new owners and with Rafa in place, it’s going to be difficult for Mike Ashley to stay on as the owner of Newcastle United.
At least we hope that’s true.
Here’s a photo of Andrew Henderson – a partner at Dentons – and some information about him.
What do you think about all of this?