It has now been a whole year since Mike Ashley sold Newcastle United to PIF, ending his 14-year tenure as Toon owner.
On October 7th 2021, Newcastle’s world was turned upside down. Ashley was gone. In his place was the consortium built up of PIF, Amanda Staveley and Jamie Reuben.
They bought the club for £305million, ending a takeover saga that dragged on and on and on.
But it has all been worth it, with Newcastle thriving since the change of ownership. There is a real feelgood factor around the club right now, and there has been ever since that fateful day one year ago.
Results and performances have improved thanks to investment and the arrival of Eddie Howe, while foundations are being laid for the club to seriously challenge in the future behind the scenes.
So much has changed at St James’ Park, and, in a perverse way, that is down to Ashley.
What Newcastle say about Mike Ashley
According to the Daily Mail, senior Toon sources say that one of the best things about PIF buying the club from Ashley was that ‘all possible cutbacks had already been made’.
In that sense, the new owners could effectively do no wrong. Pretty much every decision they have made since taking over has been a positive one.
There were so many small wins and open goals that Staveley and co couldn’t miss. Moving Alan Shearer’s statue to club land and re-naming the St James’ Park bar after him. Taking down the Sports Direct signs to make way for more lucrative sponsorship. Investing in Newcastle United Women. Engaging with supporters.
PIF have effectively had a blank slate at Newcastle. Ashley’s negligence is allowing them to build a club from the bottom up in their own vision. While it has led to some issues such as a lack of revenue, it will benefit the Magpies in the long run.
So much has changed in the space of a year, and more changes are on the horizon. But the big change is the mood of the fans. Despair and desperation has been replaced by hope. And that was the most painful thing that Ashley had taken away.
But the hope is back, with the new owners’ ambition reinvigorating a fanbase that has been starved for too long.