I want it to be true. Desperately. But there are things you just can’t take seriously in this world, and Mike Ashley trying to sell Newcastle United for a reasonable price is one of them. It is truly laughable to believe that Newcastle United could be sold almost without notice. Because that’s not what’s going to happen.
Amanda Staveley, who tabled a bid in the range that Mike Ashley is rumored to have lowered his price to, had a long drawn out process that ended with Mike Ashley pretty much publicly shaming the PCP Capital Partners.
The lingering issue with Staveley, whose offer remains firmly on the table, is that her deal involves a list of clauses. Among them, a relegation clause. Ashley is believed to only be willing to sell for a lower price if no clauses are attached to the deal. This seems to have put Ashley and the Staveley camp at an impasse.
Coming from “close friends” of the billionaire retailer, they say that Ashley no longer wishes to be involved in the football business. Has it taken its toll? Is he not making enough money? Ashley has mooched off of Newcastle United for over a decade with freely advertising his Sports Direct business without paying the club a dime. Advertising that could be sold to other partners that would actually bring in some positive revenue for the club, potentially increasing profit, and therefore giving Rafa Benitez more money to spend on transfers.
The era of Mike Ashley has been a long list of lies and broken promises. “Yes men” managers as well as a board unwilling to fight for the good of the club, are the root cause of frustration embedded in a fanbase looking for relief.
I believe that Mike Ashley may be willing to negotiate, and for the first time, it’s not all on his terms. He’s trying to win this battle by avoiding a relegation clause (seeing as that is a potentiality this season if the club’s form continues on) among other financial clauses that could cause the value of his “investment” to go down.
So when it comes to the story of Mike Ashley “lowering” his asking price. I’d take that as true. But don’t take it as a willingness to actually be a reasonable negotiator. That’s never been something we can expect out of the man.