Despite many stories of purported interest in Newcastle, the club remains in Mike Ashley’s hands, but a report in the Chronicle suggests the Bin Zayed Group (BZG) interest has not gone away.
For a while in the summer, it seemed that “this was it” for a new owner of Newcastle United. The fee was agreed, the paperwork was submitted and it was just a matter of time before the takeover was complete.
Then – in typical Newcastle fashion – everything went quiet, all public statements stopped, and the deal seemed dead in the water.
So here we are, close to the next transfer window, and Ashley is still the man calling all the shots at St James’ Park.
But the Chronicle’s report, written by Neil Mitchell, the former NUST Chairman who lives in Dubai and writes occasional columns for the newspaper, hints that the BZG offer remains on the table.
Having genuinely met with BZG’s Midhat Kidwai, he wrote: “Bin Zayed spent a lot of time and effort preparing a bid that they believed would be acceptable to Mike Ashley and were deeply disappointed that it could not be progressed.
“Why the bid ultimately was not successful I believe to be down to a number of factors but the main factor, as always, has been the attitude of the owner to negotiating a deal. As far as they’re concerned, they have not gone anywhere.”
That last sentence is intriguing, and suggests Newcastle and Ashley may not have seen the last of BZG and their ambitious plans for the football club.
Fans will hope BZG reignite interest
Of course, it would be a surprise if Ashley returned to the negotiating table with the Middle Eastern group, as once he has washed his hands of talks, they seem to stay washed – as was the case with the Amanda Staveley bid.
But should BZG have the necessary funds, and see Newcastle cement their Premier League status for another year, they may still see the club as a great investment, even with any added terms they may need to agree to.
If that is the case, it would not be impossible to think they may return with a tweaked bid, that Ashley may deem more acceptable.
Fans will hope that will be the case, and will continue to believe that one day it will actually happen.
But for now, it is very much as you were, and we have the continued resentment of the current owner, amid falling attendances, seemingly never-ending protests and distrust from fans.