Takeover complete - official:
Allah with smiling faces!
14 years and two months after he first swept to power, Thursday
teatime saw formal confirmation that Mike Ashley is no longer the
owner of Newcastle United.
That's as a result of having sold to a consortium of Saudi Arabia (PIF),
Amanda Staveley (PCP Capital Partners) and the Reuben Brothers (RB
Sports & Media) - whose first stated link with the club came in
Crowds began to gather outside SJP from mid-afternoon and grew
following news that the takeover had been completed.
Meanwhile, media attention was centred on Jesmond Dene House to
the east of the city centre, where Staveley and Jamie Reuben gave a
series of interviews.
No representatives of PIF were present.
Premier League statement @ 5.15pm :
The Premier League,
Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have
today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the
consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.
Following the completion of the
Premier League's Owners' and Directors' Test, the club has been sold
to the consortium with immediate effect.
The legal disputes concerned
which entities would own and/or have the ability to control the club
following the takeover.
All parties have agreed the
settlement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans over
the club’s ownership.
The Premier League has now
received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
will not control Newcastle United Football Club.
All parties are pleased to have
concluded this process which gives certainty and clarity to
Newcastle United Football Club and their fans.
NUFC statement @ 5.25pm:
An investment group
led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and also comprising PCP
Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media (the “Investment Group”), has
completed the acquisition of 100% of Newcastle United Limited and
Newcastle United Football Club Limited (“Newcastle United” or the
“Club”) from St. James Holdings Limited.
All requisite approvals have
been obtained from the English Premier League and the acquisition
was completed on 7 October 2021.
The Investment Group is
comprised of long-term, patient investors who have every confidence
in the future success of the Club. Today’s announcement is the
conclusion of a thorough and detailed process that has allowed the
Investment Group to arrive at a deal that benefits all stakeholders
and will leave Newcastle United well-placed to pursue a clear,
His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan,
Governor of PIF, will serve as Non-Executive Chairman of Newcastle
United. Amanda Staveley, chief executive of PCP Capital
Partners, will have one seat on the board. Jamie Reuben will
also be a director of the Club, representing RB Sports & Media.
For PIF, one of the world’s most
impactful investors, the acquisition is in line with its strategy of
focusing on key sectors including Sports and Entertainment, and
aligns with PIF’s mission to actively invest over the long term – in
this case, to harness the Club’s potential and build upon the Club’s
Commenting on the agreement, His
Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, said: "We are
extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of
the most famous clubs in English football.
"We thank the Newcastle fans for
their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited
to work together with them."
Amanda Staveley, Chief Executive
Officer of PCP Capital Partners, said: "This is a long-term
investment. We are excited about the future prospects for Newcastle
"We intend to instil a united
philosophy across the Club, establish a clear purpose, and help
provide leadership that will allow Newcastle United to go on to big
achievements over the long term.
"Our ambition is aligned with
the fans – to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly
competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe."
Jamie Reuben of RB Sports &
Media, said: "We look forward to a great future for Newcastle
United. Newcastle is a fantastic city, which is why our family has
been investing heavily in the area for many years. To become part of
this great Club and its amazing fans is a privilege.
"We will build a true community
Club, based upon our family’s knowledge of the city and in line with
our plans that have been worked on closely with Newcastle City
Council to deliver long-term sustainable growth for the area."
The directors of the Investment
Group thank Mike Ashley for his commitment to the sale process. We
would also like to thank the Premier League for its contribution in
the regulatory process, which has helped lead to completion of this
A long-awaited Cup victory....
Reaction - Friday:
The morning after the night before - and as evidence of the
celebrations is cleared up, thoughts turn not only to the future, but
also the wreckage of the last fourteen years.
For those fans growing up in the Mike Ashley era, a change of
ownership represents a genuine new beginning to their supporting career
- if all you've ever known is this, then you're entitled to your #cans.
Older generations however can recall one or two previous days that
were pivotal; be it the arrival of Sir John Hall or Ashley's takeover in
2007 - the latter event giving rise to optimism that better days lay
ahead for this club.
We now know that it didn't; the road to division and indifference
littered with unwise appointments, needless court cases, regrettable
public statements, and baffling squad recruitment policies.
It's more than the infamous paddling pools and "couldn't get it over
the line" transfer windows - it wasn't all about the money, much was
spent, plenty wasted. It's the "can't compete, won't compete" mindset
that needs to be exorcised - a collective inferiority complex.
The legacy of a businessman who failed to capitalise on a colossal
opportunity and harness its commercial potential has been to unify a
fractured fan base; united in relief that those red and blue adverts
will come crashing down.
Alongside that though runs optimism over our future prospects and
concerns over the new ownership of the club and their suitability for
the colossal amount of work required to "build back better".
Our constant mantra throughout the last 14 years was that our
chances of progress were hindered by a failure to bring in
football people - or keep any we got. That needs to change, and not just
in terms of the first team management.
In terms of the support, many are in the Anybody but Mike club
currently; those promised riches from Saudi Arabia almost a side issue
to bidding good riddance of the sandshoe salesman and his cronies.
That will recede though as the incomers begin to flex their muscles
- and the new era brings challenges for the support. Changing the
stadium name for instance and seeing just what the new lot deem to be a
practical level of fan consultation and communication.
Others are more than uncomfortable with the track record of those
promising to invest in the club and the region in terms of abhorrent
human rights abuses and domestic criminal legislation.
To that - and sports washing accusations - we don't pretend to have
the answers, but share those misgivings, regardless of the fact that the
occupants of Buckingham Palace and Downing Street seem not to.
In a perfect world we'd not be owned by Sports Direct or PIF and not
be called upon as football fans to make moral judgements, but this seems
to be the reality of the Premier League in 2021.
A change of ownership has come too late for some of those fans who
have walked away because of the path that football has taken, not just
on Barrack Road.
And while calls for Premier League transparency have receded
markedly in NE postcodes, the fan-led review that Nadine Dorres and the
DCMS are tasked with remains important - unless we're happy to
pull up the drawbridge now apparently sitting at the top table.
Have a ponder about where you'll stand if and when European Super
League returns and the NUFC badge appears on the proposals. There will
be a cost for what we stand to gain.
Separation may have been proven to the satisfaction of the football
authorities at least in terms of the new owners, but achieving that
among the fanbase will be a more elongated process.
If nothing else though, the reset button has been pressed, something
that we privately never thought would happen.
It remains to be seen what lies ahead for this club, but bidding
farewell to the days of ticking over is a genuine cause for celebration.
For anyone now expecting Newcastle United to do the quadruple;
we've already blown it this season by not being in Europe and having
exited the Carabao and Papa John's under Ashley's watch....
It is worth recalling the slow and steady progress of Manchester City
following their takeover however:
2008 Sept: Abu Dhabi Group takeover announced, inheriting Mark Hughes
as manager, who had replaced Sven-Goran Eriksson three months earlier.
Robinho joins for £32.5m.
2009 July: Carlos Tevez joins from Manchester United.
2009 Dec: Roberto Mancini replaces Hughes.
2010 July/Aug: City spend £120m on David Silva, Yaya Toure, Mario
Balatelli and others.
2011 May: City win the FA Cup, beating Stoke City.
2011 July: Sergio Aguero joins for £38m.
2012 May: Aguero's 94th minute winner clinches the Premier League
2013 June: Manuel Pellegrini replaces Mancini.
2014: League Cup winners and Premier League winners.
2016: League Cup winners.
2016 July: Pep Guardiola replaces Pellegrini.
2018: League Cup winners and Premier League winners.
2019: League Cup winners, FA Cup winners and Premier League winners.
2020: League Cup winners.
2021: Premier League winners and Champions League runners-up.
Let's avoid relegation in 2022 first....
CAT not out of bag
One expected consequence of the takeover is the discontinuation
of the Competition Appeal Tribunal Case brought by Mike Ashley against
the Premier League.
Papers released by CAT confirm that the claim was withdrawn last
Friday - a day after the sale of the club was ratified.
CAT proceedings lasting one day were streamed live late last
month, lawyers for both parties giving evidence to a three-man panel
headed by The Honourable Mr Justice Miles.
separate arbitration action between the two parties scheduled for
January will now also presumably lapse - avoiding the hoped-for "drains
up" covering the 2020 takeover attempt.
Takeover - Ashley:
Got my money
Comments from the now-former NUFC owner, Thursday:
"I would like it to be known that I received a
higher offer for the club than the one that I accepted.
"It was from another reputable bidder, who made a credible case. But
I felt the bid that we accepted from the current new owners would
deliver the best for Newcastle United. Money wasn't my only
"Owning a football club
gets into your blood and l would love nothing more than to see
Newcastle winning trophies.
"I accept that during my time at
Newcastle we have not achieved the club’s full potential on the
field, but I do believe that away from the pitch we got many things
"I am proud to leave the club on a solid financial footing with no
debts, which is obviously a good foundation for the club going
"I’m pleased that a consortium
backed by PIF is the new owner of Newcastle United. I am sure this
will deliver the success that fans deserve.
"I’ve always said that I would
only sell to a new owner if they can invest the necessary funds to
enable Newcastle United to compete at the very highest level.
"I believe this change of
ownership is true to that principle.”
Takeover - Bruce:
Where's my money?
Comments from the still-current NUFC Manager, Thursday:
"I know I may be sacked at Newcastle - but I won't be bitter.
I want to continue.
"I’d like the chance to show the new owners what I can do, but you
have to be realistic and they may well want a new manager to launch
things for them. New owners normally want a new manager.
"I’ve been around long enough to understand that. That decision is
not up to me. I accept that and I will accept what comes my way.
"I have to wait to have those conversations with people when the
time is right. If I don’t make it to 1,000 games against Spurs, you
might say that could only happen to me, but I don’t think it would
be cruel. It’s just football.
is not about me, I cannot stress that enough. I have said from the
first-day news of this takeover came out in public, that if it is
the best thing for the football club, if it takes this magnificent
football club forward then I am all for it.
"I am not going to be bitter or angry about anything, whatever
happens. Of course there will be sadness if I lose my job, it’s the
job I’ve wanted my whole life, certainly since I became a manager
and as hard as it’s been, I have been enormously proud to be manager
of Newcastle United.
"That will never change. What happens to me, well, it’s not
irrelevant, but this is about the football club and its future. I
really hope this is the start of an exciting new era, it certainly
sounds exciting when you read about how much money Saudi Arabians
Number 9 dream
comments to BBC Radio 5, Thursday:
"All we've done is tick along and survive for 14 years. We've had no
real ambition, we've survived, cup competitions have been
non-existent and this city and this football club and our fans
"The fans are loyal, they love
their football club and their life is Newcastle United. It all
depends on whether Newcastle win on a Saturday. They work hard all
week to spend their money on the club, so I understand why there is
so much happiness in the city today and I feel exactly the same.
"Our fans also need to know that
they matter, because they haven't for 14 years, so today is special
"The dream is that we want a
little bit of hope. Fans want their football club to try and be the
best and I really understand their excitement for that reason.
"The Newcastle fans have not
mattered for 14 years. Their money hasn't been invested and they've
not been consulted. To have a football club that has such passionate
support but not have that level of consultation is not good.
"We now have owners that will
invest and I think that's really important for the fans to see that.
"It will need patience and
that's fine. We don't expect to be winning the league in the next
few years or winning the Champions League, we just expect a little
bit of something to look forward to.
"The fans deserve that, they are
such loyal and passionate supporters and they've been on the brink
for so long. We were lucky enough to do so much at one time and it
was a happy and thriving place, but there's been none of that for
the last 14 years."
"I understand that questions
have to be asked about the human rights issues, it's really
important that we don't brush them under the carpet.
"We have to educate ourselves on
that and this will highlight that even more... but already they are
massively invested in this country and other sports.
"It is a huge issue but it's not
Newcastle United fans' fault - they don't get a say in their
football club and how it's run."