Amidst all the takeover talk that had dominated Newcastle headlines earlier this summer, it’s easy to forget that a year prior, the club was also looking it was on the verge of seeing Mike Ashley’s era come to an end.
Reports back in May 2019 had suggested that the current Magpies owner was in talks to sell the club to Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and that the potential deal was worth around £350m.
It was even claimed by the Bin Zayed Group that terms had been all agreed, and that they had hoped to complete the takeover at the “earliest opportunity“.
Of course, that all failed to materialise, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to make their mark on English football. They now currently own Derby County after agreeing a takeover earlier this month, and have now made the decision to appoint Steve McClaren as technical director.
As well as the Bin Zayed group, McClaren is also a familiar name on Tyneside, having managed at St James’ Park a few years ago and ending up being sacked after just nine months in charge.
The former England boss opened up on his time at the club earlier this year, saying: “It was a difficult club at that time to manage and, again, I thought I had all the experience. Time is something you don’t get at a football club and that club needed time to turn around, and I knew after six weeks, 10 weeks in the dressing room that it needed changing around and that might have taken a year, two years.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t given that time and that’s what happens in football. You’ve still got to win in the short-term and plan for the long-term. That has always been the motto and always will be. Unfortunately, I ran out of time.”
And after hearing about his appointment at Derby, Newcastle fans made it clear that they seem to have had a lucky escape with the Bin Zayed takeover falling through.
Lucky escape for #NUFC then.
— Will Burns (@WillBurns6) November 24, 2020
Part of me tells me we’ve dodged the bullet
— Liam ⚫️⚪️ (@LiamNUFC98) November 24, 2020
😅😅😅 if that’s the limit of their vision, then bullet dodged pic.twitter.com/dEZeLM2bzF
— Martin Starkey (@martin_starkey) November 24, 2020
— Joe MacCabe (@joemaccabe) November 24, 2020
Lucky escape for nufc not getting taken over by them then 😂
— Tony Grie⚫️⚪️ (@tonygrie) November 24, 2020
Bullet clearly dodged with that lot then
— NathanJohnD (@NathanJohnD1) November 24, 2020
Dodged a bullet here 😭
— Connor🇫🇷 (@TheMaximinEra) November 24, 2020
If their appointment of McClaren is an indication of how they may have run things at Newcastle, then it’s fair to say the Magpies may have dodged a bullet. Having billionaire owners come in and take over is all well and good, but if they don’t get the key personnel decisions right, then it all goes to pot.