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Newcastle United: Interpreting the Staveley Comments

Amanda Staveley recently talked about her interest in Newcastle United. But something seemed off.

UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Liverpool v Chelsea Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

When reading the Amanda Staveley comments, it’s easy to get caught up in the whole idea of what could have been. The level of investment that she could bring with her contacts was enough to make a man salivate.

Many are looking at Staveley’s comments simply as a goodwill message to Mike Ashley that his comments are “water under the bridge” as Staveley says. Some are also seeing it as a message of intent. That she’s still interested in purchasing the club from Sports Direct tycoon.

The sure thing is that Staveley refuses to give up her interest in Newcastle, but she also mentions that her and her team are looking at multiple clubs to purchase. Newcastle is not special in this regard. The club and the city are a quality investment for many businesspeople, and there are other clubs which share that same potential.

There was just this comment that, well, gave me reason for pause. And maybe I’m reading too much into it (as I enjoy doing with a lot of things) but I was intrigued nonetheless.

“We are sensible people who invest other people’s money. We would also put our own capital in – of course we would. But with financial fair play rules, all football clubs have to be financially stable.” — Amanda Staveley

It was her last line that caught me a bit off guard immediately. Mike Ashley had claimed that PCP Capital Partners, Staveley’s firm, were a waste of time. But it would seem from these statements that Staveley may have seen something raised an alarm in her due diligence period when making a bid to purchase the club.

Is it possible that Newcastle isn’t as financially stable as Mike Ashley likes to claim that it is? If so, it would bring the value of the club down significantly, even though it was one of the highest profiting clubs in Europe. Mike Ashley could be using funds generated from the club to fund his other business projects, going against everything that he has said about the club keeping every last penny that it generates.

Of course Staveley is still interested in purchasing the club, but only on the terms she had laid before Ashley. She has other prospects, and whether it’s Newcastle or not, I’m sure Staveley is going to get a deal done with another club. But her comments lead me to believe that the financials of Newcastle United aren’t black and white (see what I did there?) and there is something that greatly hurts Ashley’s valuation. That’s why she was “wasting time”.

I’d love to see her get back in the race and contact Mike Ashley and his lawyers about getting him to sell up, but I fear that this is all a pipe dream.