Takeover talk has dominated the Newcastle United news this week, with fans desperate to hear an official word on what is going on, and where any proposed deal stands.
There has been no word whatsoever from the football club, and any media requests have been met with a “no comment” reply.
Speculation became something of a frenzy yesterday, following an updated statement from the Bin Zayed Group.
Despite that, still no official line is coming out of St James’ Park.
With calls for the club, or Mike Ashley, to put out a statement, here are six reasons why the club may be staying silent.
The takeover claims are not true so there is no need to comment
There is still a lot of doubt over the validity of the claims from Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan and his Bin Zayed Group.
As unlikely as it sounds, if there is no truth in the talk, it may be that Ashley, and other senior Newcastle officials, see no reason to make any comment.
This would, however, be in contrast to previous unfounded rumours, which were quickly shot down by the club.
Because of that previous stance, their failure to quell the rumours, is merely adding fuel to the fire, with fans taking their silence as a signal that the talks must be genuine.
Ashley hopes the public comments will force other parties into a bidding war
The nature of the comments coming out of the Middle East are very direct and forthright.
With claims of agreements being reached and signed, paperwork submitted to the Premier League, and fit-and-proper owner tests underway, they are certainly being bold in their assertions.
If their is legitimacy to the claims – or even if there is not – Ashley could be hoping that by staying silent, other interested groups may be forced into action.
Depending on how serious and keen those other potential buyers are, they may feel compelled to put in a counter-bid.
That would be music to Ashley’s ears, and the more interest the comments generate, the more inflated an eventual fee could become.
On the flip-side to that, a short statement, authenticating the claims is likely to have more influence over other possible bidders.
Most Newcastle officials are in the dark, and cannot comment on what they do not know
Mike Ashley is very selective about the people he surrounds himself with, and those he trusts.
With that in mind, it is quite conceivable that few people working in the Newcastle United offices actually have any knowledge of what the official position is.
Many of those at the club were likely to have been as surprised as fans were when the news broke, and have probably been following events on news aggregators and social media, like the rest of us.
Again, a word from someone who does have knowledge would go a long way to shedding light on the situation.
Ashley does not like conducting business in public
Mike Ashley has always seemed to do his business away from the public forum. He has always shunned the spotlight, and tried to steer clear of the media and cameras.
He was also quick to state that previous bidders for the club must adhere to non-disclosure agreements, and keep dealings private.
He called out Amanda Staveley as a time-waster who played to the fans via the media. And was similarly reluctant to agree to Peter Kenyon releasing his public statement, albeit he was aware of it when it came.
Again, however, his previous actions are having a counter-effect in this case. Fans are assuming his failure to dismiss the group for playing to a clamouring public, must be a sign of validity in comparison to previous bids.
Zero communication is the norm at Newcastle United under Ashley
Unfortunately, a lack of comment on anything is normal at the club nowadays.
Journalists in the region have long-hoped to have a sit-down conversation with the reclusive owner. And every time they ask, they get the same negative reply.
We have the sporadic fans’ forums, which are usually veiled in secrecy, with assurances sought that the club control much of the dialogue of what is made public, and what is not.
There is generally an annual interview with Lee Charnley after the clubs accounts are published, and as far as official interviews are concerned, that is about it.
The odd occasion that Ashley has sat down to speak, it has been carefully manufactured conversations with his friends at his preferred media partners, and almost always with a motive for doing so.
Ashley is not concerned about the fans and will do whatever suits him
Despite calls for increased dialogue from the club, and a more open policy with the fans, there continues to be a black-out on communication of all Newcastle United matters.
Fans feel justified in their claims that the continued silence is disrespectful to them.
The fans are the life-blood of the football club, and as such, must surely deserve to be kept in the loop – to a certain extent – and be updated on major issues that affect them.
Take Rafa Benitez’s contract talks, for example. While no fan expects Ashley or Charnley to come out and tell us what the sticking points are on agreeing a deal, they rightly hope the club would treat them with enough respect to publicly admit that talks are still taking place, or that they are still ironing out some issues.
But that is not the way at Newcastle United. It is also the reason why so many fans are desperate for new owners in the first place.
They feel that Ashley deliberately keeps them in the dark, which is viewed as another sign that he takes them for granted, and simply does not care about them.
Whatever the true reasons behind the club’s continued silence, they must see the need to say something in this current climate.