Football FanCast columnist Tom Jones feels the prospect of Mike Ashley remaining at the helm is a shuddering prospect.
Newcastle fans must wish that Mike Ashley had never got involved in their club as the ownership saga continues to rumble on. Their decent start to the season is in danger of being jeopardised by the uncertainty off the field and the quicker the situation is resolved one way or another, the better it will be for the future of the club.
It is now understood that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has reduced his asking price for the club to £80 million as he becomes increasingly desperate to offload what has been a nightmare business venture for him. He is also willing to take a huge loss on his investment, but his dealings with local businessman Barry Moat continue to stall and his frustration is beginning to show.
Ashley told the Times, “Barry Moat has been driving me mad for two years,” as his consortium hasn’t been able to put up the cash for the club and Ashley further states that “if you can’t pay up front for the club you can’t afford it.” The Toon Army now must be wondering whether a change of owner to Moat would be a good move after all, as if he is struggling to find the funds to buy the club, how is he going to be able to afford to strengthen the squad?
However, further comments from Mike Ashley will convince fans that the sooner he leaves the better. He has considered giving Chris Hughton the job permanently which would be a good move, but he has also stated that “if I keep the club I will have the final say on players.” This must leave Newcastle fans shuddering at the prospect of a continued time having Ashley at the helm, as if he is going to stay he has to have as little involvement in the playing side as possible.
On the pitch Newcastle have failed to win in their last three games and it is clear that for them to progress they need to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window, but the question is under what circumstances will this be possible. If Ashley stays will he invest in the club, which he failed to do in the summer and left Newcastle with a paper thin squad? But if a new owner such as Moat comes in will he have the funds to buy any players having spent two years mustering up less than £80 million? Both prospects look unappealing, here’s hoping another investor becomes interested, but once again that looks unlikely.
The Toon Army will not only be concerned by events off the field but will also begin to worry about their form on it. Their first half performance against Nottingham Forest on Saturday was woeful, but an improved second half and the fact that they are still 4 points clear in the promotion spots will keep fans optimistic for the time being. But what is the best realistic scenario for the club going forward? I know for sure that the sooner some stability is brought to Newcastle the better, whether this means Ashley taking the club off the market or Moat agreeing a fee, who knows what the future holds?
888Sport – Get a Piece of the Action: join now and get £50 in free bets today!