“Brain of a nuclear physicist, charm of a diplomat”: how Amanda Staveley could transform Newcastle


As Amanda Staveley gets closer to the Newcastle United award, it’s worth repeating the words of Brian Reade in his excellent book An Epic Swindle.

“She has the charm and cunning of an old colonial diplomat and the brain of a double-first nuclear physicist,” he wrote, memorable, of the financier’s attempts to negotiate a deal for Liverpool.

Staveley, 47, who is set to become one of the most prominent women in football, needed a lot of that – plus his drive and determination – to unlock what many others have found to be the most important tasks. delicate: Mike Ashley’s take on the magpies.

Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi attend the Old Vic Bicentennial Ball at the Old Vic Theater on May 13, 2018
Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi attend Old Vic’s bicentennial ball at the Old Vic Theater on May 13, 2018

According to the Financial Times, the constitution of his consortium was advanced aboard Mohammed Bin Salman’s superyacht Serene in the Red Sea in October 2019.

There, on the 440 million pound ship that has a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece on the wall, Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi mixed with some of the wealthiest people on the planet. It was his conversations with Yasir al-Rumayyan, president of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PiF), who secured funding that should – if all goes to plan – change the game in the extended three-year effort to buy out Mike. Ashley.

The owner of Newcastle said she wasted her time in 2017 (“Water under the bridge,” she said later), but she was not discouraged. The new project – which has been going on for over a year and saw her try to convince Rafa Benitez to stay so that the deal can be made with him in charge – was a high-stakes game.

Fail again and his reputation in football would have been damaged, probably beyond repair. Many Newcastle insiders doubted her and Martin Samuel’s Friday column appeared to be from the same line of thought that saw her written off in 2017.

But after negotiating a delicate period in January when the leaks seemed ready to ruin the agreement and with the takeover in the hands of the Premier League and the apparently assured Saudi engagement, it is now close to an astonishing victory at a time when sport is in a state of flux.

Although PCP Capital Partners is the asset manager for Newcastle, it is their own money that will be invested for a 10% interest. She is rich, but not as rich as her partners in the Reubens or PiF affair. She will have her skin in the game: as much as the contraction of the coronavirus of football offers opportunities, it also increases the risks.

In the FT article, they quote Rob Noel, a former CEO of the real estate company Land Securities, on Staveley.

“She is completely focused, like a dog with a bone. She won’t let go. Amanda seems to trust at a very high level in the Middle East, “he said.

“Many middlemen turn out to court you with another broker who courts you with another broker and ultimately you get the man or the woman with the money. But Amanda seems to be getting there quite directly. “

Staveley will enjoy the longest honeymoon in her memory if she manages to extract Ashley from Newcastle, but the excitement and enthusiasm will have to be sustained by the kind of charm and cunning that Reade noted in her.

“We are big fans of Newcastle, big fans of the team,” she said last year, praising the “fantastic” fans. It was in 2017 that she saw this potential first-hand when United drew with Liverpool at St James ‘Park. But it will be an interesting period.

With three different groups in this takeover, the dynamics will be interesting and even sometimes difficult. 80% PiF participation means they will be kingmakers – how will it fit if the other board members disagree on management? Staveley, like the one with the enthusiasm for the project and the ideas, will probably lead and these are nice problems to have.

After three years of due diligence – in 2017, she spoke to city leaders, fan groups and even the Newcastle Falcons about the ways the two clubs could work together – she will not get in like a green horn. When she tried to buy Liverpool with partners in Dubai, she met Spirit of Shankly in a Liverpool pub. You can be sure it will make a straight line for fan groups in the first few weeks. Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer can expect early invitations to the stadium. Communication with the media will be revitalized. There are very easy victories that Staveley is smart enough to secure.

Last year, she defined our vision for a football club. “We are smart people who invest other people’s money. We would also invest our own capital – of course. But with the rules of financial fair play, all football clubs must be financially stable, “she told Le National.

“I am extremely proud of Man City – we are not looking to create another Man City in terms of the huge levels of investment they have had in players.

“But what I like about Man City is how they have invested so well in Manchester, in the region. It’s really important, and the kind of thing we would like to do elsewhere. “

Newcastle will be a different club with optimism, fund and vision for the future.


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