In the past few minutes, the Newcastle United board have announced that the club is officially for sale.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 16, 2017
According to the statement, Mike Ashley is looking to complete the sale by Christmas. Ashley has also promised to invest in January if a sale cannot be completed. To incentivize potential buyers, the current owner is also willing for buyers to pay for the club in installments. This news is almost certainly the end of Mike Ashley’s ten year period at the club.
This is probably the most obvious effort by Ashley to sell Newcastle since he took over the club a decade ago. After recent interest by Amanda Staveley and other investors being allowed access to Newcastle, it is clear that the recent revelations are gaining more and more steam and it is looking increasingly likely that Newcastle will have new owners within the near future.
While this story is still up in the air, there is a lot of interest. Amanda Stavely, who has been the front-runner for several weeks now, did meet with Lee Charnley and Ashley’s right hand man Keith Bishop. However, the rumors have died down recently and nothing new has been released.
Another potential buyer is Robert Kraft, worth an estimated $4 billion and the current owner of NFL franchise New England Patriots and MLS side New England Revolution. Kraft was previously interested in purchasing Liverpool but he is still interested in owning a Premier League side, potentially Newcastle.
According to this article from The Chronicle, Turkey’s richest man emerged as the leading candidate but denied the claims less than 6 hours later. Yildiz Holdings is worth $4 billion and owns household brands like McVities and Jaffa Cakes and claimed that he would “turn Newcastle into a top 6 club” and back Benitez with £60 million in January. However, I must state that it is very unclear whether the links are strong or not.
Either way, it’s an exciting time to be a Newcastle supporter.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland