The Newcastle United takeover saga has sucked the life out of the club this past week.

July could have been the month where we received positive news. It could have been the month that brought us a light at the end of the dark and arduous tunnel. It could have been a month of celebration and joy.

Alas, it has turned into despair, desperation and fear of the upcoming Premier League season.

With three weeks of pre-season remaining, Steve Bruce has a worse squad than the one that ended the previous campaign.

Newcastle United Pre-Season Training Session
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So far there have been no new arrivals, while teams around us are making signings and strengthening their squads.

Mike Ashley reportedly didn’t want to sanction any major arrivals until the club’s future was resolved. In short, he didn’t want to spend any money on something he didn’t hope to own for much longer.

If PCP Capital Partners had been given a route back to the table, the mood would be much better, even without new signings.

New owners would give fans a boost. It would give old fans a reason to come back. It would bring back some of the hope that we saw during the Rafa Benitez era.

Instead, the dark cloud of Ashley continues to linger above St James’ Park, with no signs of moving on.

Swansea City v Newcastle United - Premier League
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What has happened this week?

On Monday evening, the club confirmed that arbitration would be delayed until early 2022.

This was the first legal battle that Ashley launched against the Premier League, looking to resolve the issue of separation between the Public Investment Fund and the Saudi state.

The hearing was set to take place this month, meaning a takeover resolution might have been on the horizon.

Instead, a resolution has been kicked down the road and into next year.

In the club’s statement, they said the hearing has been delayed due to ‘issues with the disclosure of evidence’.

The Newcastle United Badge and Premier League Logo
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Is there still reason to be positive about the Newcastle takeover?

Monday’s update was devastating for Toon fans.

It’s been a rough week for supporters. It started with a pre-season defeat to non-league York City, but that was nothing compared to the takeover blow on Monday night.

We’ve also missed out on transfer targets, with the likes of Mario Lemina kicking us while we’re down.

But the takeover isn’t dead. Things may feel bleak right now, but it isn’t over.

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League
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The arbitration hearing is still scheduled to take place; it’s just been delayed for six months.

While the delay is bad news, it could be worse. Arbitration could have gone ahead and we could have lost. But the case is still active, and there is still a chance we could win it.

And arbitration isn’t the only ongoing legal battle. There is also the CAT case.

The Premier League have been handed two extensions to file evidence, but the Guardian have claimed that developments are expected soon.

Fans have speculated that the CAT case coming first may actually help matters.

And despite this week’s disappointment, it has been reported that the buyers are ‘undeterred’. The Chronicle also state that Mike Ashley believes the consortium are going nowhere.

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
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Do the negatives outweigh the positives?

Of course, you’ve got to be an eternal optimist to see this week’s events as a positive rather than a negative.

The reality is that we’re facing up to another season owned by Mike Ashley. Not only that, but a Mike Ashley who appears to have checked out. He agreed a deal to sell the club last year, yet he still remains in charge.

Last summer, he did invest. £20million was spent on Callum Wilson. It feels highly unlikely that we’ll see another deal of that magnitude.

Instead, Bruce will have to work with the squad he’s got – a squad that is desperately missing Joe Willock right now.

It is a squad that is heavily reliant on Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin. If either of them get injured, like last season, things could become desperate.

Newcastle United v Burnley - Premier League
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While we ended last season strongly, it feels like this year will be another fight to avoid the drop.

Things could be even more toxic, with fans set to return to stadiums. There will be nowhere to hide for Bruce, who received a lot of criticism from supporters last season.

But if there had been a takeover, perhaps Bruce wouldn’t even be manager anymore. The Athletic recently reported that there were talks about replacing him, if they were allowed to complete a takeover.

 

Obviously, that takeover won’t be happening any time soon.

But will it happen at all? While Ashley is reportedly confident that the buyers will wait to see the results of his legal battles, there is no guarantee. Confidence has been thrown around a lot over the past 15 months, after all.

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Will PIF really wait? We’ve never heard from the Saudis since the collapse, despite Amanda Staveley’s insistence that everyone remains keen.

She is the only takeover member who we’ve heard from, and even her words have a different meaning after this week’s developments.

The Newcastle takeover gets uglier and uglier

Just days before arbitration was adjourned, Staveley said on TalkSPORT that a deal ‘will’ happen. She said they were looking forward to welcoming fans to St James’ Park.

Three days later and a deal is nowhere near.

So what went wrong? Why was Staveley so defiant on Friday morning, engaging in a slagging match with the argumentative Simon Jordan?

It has been reported that the club knew the hearing was going to be adjourned, but did Staveley know that as well?

(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Old Vic Theatre)

Her attempts to buy Newcastle United have been going on for years now, yet she still seems incapable of getting a deal over the line.

While she is saying all the right things, talking about investment in the region and the importance of the fans, her words remain just that – words.

This takeover saga has been unlike any other. While in the past we’ve had chancers, this deal was going to happen.

All that stood between PCP Capital Partners and Newcastle United last year was the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ test.

Their role has been shambolic. The way they have threated one of their members has been disgraceful.

The Premier League have allowed one of their clubs to remain in limbo, despite Richard Masters saying the issue would be resolved in a ‘timely manner’ back in January.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters Media Briefing
(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images for Premier League)

Since then, it’s been ‘no comment’, ‘no comment’ and ‘no comment’.

There have been calls for transparency from the club, the buyers, fans and the government. Yet they remain silent.

The supporters did their bit. Some even travelled to London to protest. There have been letters written to MPs. But what was it all for?

Yet again, it is the supporters who have been let down – the supporters who invest their hard earned money into a club they follow through the good times and the bad.

Now fans are turning on each other on social media, angry at the latest delay in this ongoing saga.

People are looking to point the finger at someone. But the takeover issues have nothing to do with Simon Jordan, Luke Edwards, the NUST, podcasts or anyone outside of the deal.

The takeover is its own entity now. People claiming to ‘know people on both sides of the deal’, talking about confidence and why the deal will happen.

Newcastle United v Everton FC - Premier League
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And finally, the ‘ITKs’…

People claiming to be ‘in the know’ have been rife on Twitter in recent years.

Yet so often they are wrong. In fact, they’re always wrong. But they continue to mislead the fanbase – a desperate fanbase who just want some good news.

Claims about when arbitration will happen. Tweets about when a deal might be done. It’s all bollocks, and the ‘fans’ who peddle it on social media should be ashamed.

Some ‘ITKs’ seem to know everything about the club. They claim to know when the takeover will happen, they know who are transfer targets are, they know how much we’re spending, and they know what Steve Bruce had for breakfast.

If they knew so much, why would it just be posted on Twitter? You’d be writing for a top media outlet and actually making some money out of your contacts.

Newcastle United v Sheffield United - Premier League
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There are so many layers to this takeover saga that it’s hard to know what to think. Will it happen? When could it happen? Is there no chance of a deal soon?

Who knows. The fact remains that the club is in limbo. Fans are angry and in desperate need of hope.

Sadly, I don’t know where that hope is going to come from. But it certainly isn’t going to come from a bloke on Twitter preaching that something positive is about to happen to Newcastle United.

Hope will come when new owners are at St James’ Park, holding a black and white scarf high above their head. Sadly, who knows when that day will come.

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