Newcastle United makes the headlines with Mike Ashley’s big takeover question

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Mike Ashley asked his close associates why the last attempt to take control of Newcastle United lasted so long.

Elsewhere, Sky Sports specialist Gary Neville admitted that the Magpies were one of the clubs he would have considered playing for if sold by Manchester United.

Here are your best Newcastle United stories for April 2:

Ashley takeover question

Mike Ashley has often spoken with his close associates about the Newcastle United sale and asked why a man who once paid £ 380 million for a yacht takes so long to spend a little less for a football club.



A fan holds a banner to protest Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley during the FA Cup fourth round match between Oxford United and Newcastle United at Kassam Stadium on February 4, 2020 in Oxford, England
A fan holds a banner to protest Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley during the FA Cup fourth round match between Oxford United and Newcastle United at Kassam Stadium on February 4, 2020 in Oxford, England

To Mohammad bin Salman, owner of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund who would try to buy United with Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers, Ashley wonders why one of the richest men in the world has not yet pressed the button and made the transaction a reality?

Even those who don’t like Ashley on Tyneside can probably see the logic of such a question.

Anniversary of the Dyer-Bowyer fight

It’s been exactly 15 years since Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer decided to drop the gloves and fight on the field. It was an extraordinary moment during a troubled period for the club, when manager Graeme Souness was struggling to keep up with Sir Bobby Robson, his revered predecessor.



Fight between Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer
Fight between Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer

Here we are taking a trip back in time until April 2, 2005 when Newcastle’s toothless performance – they lost 3-0 at home to Aston Villa – took the back seat as Dyer and Bowyer’s fight stunned the world of football. This is what the main protagonists had to say about the incident.

Entrance to the Neville’s Magpies

Gary Neville says Newcastle is one of three Premier League clubs he would have wanted to play if Sir Alex Ferguson had told him that his time at Manchester United was over.



Gary Neville, Sky Sports expert
Gary Neville, Sky Sports expert

In a Skype conversation with Geoff Shreeves for Sky Sports for the Off Script podcast, Neville listed three sides for which he would never have turned.

But then Newcastle was one of the three national teams he wanted to play for, because it’s a “real club” with tradition.

The bad habit of the NUFC

When Premier League football resumes, Newcastle United will need to improve their attack.

This season, no team has scored fewer goals in England’s elite, with the Magpies’s 25 pie number with Norwich City at the bottom of the list.



Steve Bruce with Brendan Rodgers as Newcastle bows to Leicester
Steve Bruce with Brendan Rodgers as Newcastle bow to Leicester

There are a variety of reasons why Steve Bruce’s attacking game didn’t particularly catch fire, with the lack of sophistication in possession being a notable concern.

There are 98 teams competing in the top five European leagues, with the Magpies ranking 97th for ball possession ahead of only the German team, Augsburg.

Players’ wages

Newcastle United and a host of Premier League rivals face the distinct possibility of pay cuts after a high-level meeting between senior management and the Professional Football Association.



Nathan Harker, Martin Dubravka, Freddie Woodman and Karl Darlow warm up with Newcastle United goalkeeper coach Simon Smith (second from left) during a workout at Nanjing Olympic Sports Center on July 15, 2019
Nathan Harker, Martin Dubravka, Freddie Woodman and Karl Darlow warm up with Newcastle United goalkeeper coach Simon Smith (second from left) during a workout at Nanjing Olympic Sports Center on July 15, 2019

A second meeting is scheduled for Friday and Premier League chiefs have urged clubs to face the possibility that pay cuts are inevitable.

With the virus pandemic wreaking havoc in the UK, there is a real possibility that Premier League players will be out of service for at least another two months.

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