Newcastle fans ‘confused and heartbroken’ by takeover collapse

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Newcastle has been owned by Mike Ashley since 2007

Newcastle United fans say they are “confused” and “heartbroken” over the collapse of the Saudi-backed takeover.

A consortium, led by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), struck a £ 300million deal to buy the club from Mike Ashley in April, but it has now pulled out.

Greg Tomlinson, of the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust, said “answers are needed from the Premier League”.

Fellow Michelle George said, “It left the fans devastated. ”

The deal has been delayed after it came under scrutiny as part of the Premier League owners and directors test.

And the consortium, which also included PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers, pulled out as it is understood that the PIF ran out of patience.

George, a Magpies supporter, added: “As fans we are heartbroken. It sounds dramatic but we have suffered for 13 years under Ashley due to a lack of interest and investment in the club.

“So the fact that it went the way it worked and for the entire length of time and then for the news to go out, and we still don’t have the full picture. ”

Legal documents were handed over to the Premier League 16 weeks ago, but the bid has been hampered by allegations about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and its handling of TV piracy.

The delay in the process came because Premier League lawyers struggled to establish precise links between the consortium and the Saudi government.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also the president of the PIF.

Despite ownership complications, a survey of Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust members found 97% of them were in favor of the takeover, with many keen to get rid of Ashley.

“Everyone was excited about the offer and the potential investment in the city, so this is a missed opportunity for Newcastle and the North East as a region,” Tomlinson added.

“We’re confused about what happened here – it’s been almost 17 weeks of noise.

“It has been clearly established that football supporters are the least important part in a decision that affects fans the most.

“We were treated with contempt. ”

George, who is a lawyer, said the Premier League had to “bear some blame” for the failure of the deal.

“The test did not allow [Premier League chief executive] Richard Masters must take into account the moral issues that he or the people around him deem important, ”she said.

“I understand it was a confidential process, but to make it last that long they should at least tell us what the position was. ”

She added: “Everyone thought we could be the next Manchester City, although warned by what is revealed now that nothing really good is happening with Newcastle. ”

As for the future, Tomlinson and George are hopeful, as long as the future does not involve Ashley.

US businessman Henry Mauriss is reportedly keen to buy the club for £ 350million.

Tomlinson says he is “skeptical” about the deal, but added: “Now I hope we can find someone who is willing to buy the club and take the relevant tests and move us forward. appropriate way.

“There is no future for Newcastle United under the current owner. ”

George said: ‘The fans were done with Mike Ashley before it happened and looking ahead to the new season, that doesn’t give you a huge incentive to spend £ 70 on a new shirt, nor to throw in a kick. Keep an eye out for transfer rumors because other clubs have already started buying players, and we know we’re going to scratch the bottom of the barrel.

“There will still be things to discuss but everyone will wake up and feel a little sad for a few days. “

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