Newcastle United – News Roundup – 05 August 2009 [Updated]

Posted on August 5th, 2009 | One Comment |

Bassong fined, but leaving anyway.
Bassong fined, but leaving anyway.
According to The Chronicle, Bassong has been fined two weeks wages for his failure to travel to Dundee for last weekend’s friendly. Hughton had previously stated that Bassong wouldn’t have featured in the game anyway because he’s serving a ban for the West Brom trip and Hughton wanted to field a team against Dundee that was as close as possible to the one he intends to field for our opening league game.

To be honest I can see both sides of this: Bassong is obviously frustrated by things at Newcastle – perhaps particularly in relation to any transfer he might want – but as of right now he’s contracted to Newcastle United and should behave professionally and in accordance with his manager’s wishes.

Anyway, The Mail claims that all this has moved Bassong’s exit closer and that he has a preference for Spurs over Man City.

Kevin Nolan has called for the club to sign some players. In The Journal he says:

You can never ever take away what Chris (Hughton, the caretaker manager) and Colin (Calderwood, his assistant) have done.

The lads are more than happy to take this (the management status quo).

But one thing we may have to do if things stay the way it is, is bring a couple of new faces in to freshen things up and strengthen in places where we need strengthening.

It’s major, big decision time for people upstairs and that’s up to them. We’re just getting on with things on the pitch and they’re doing their thing.

We’re not here to ask for anything, just produce on the pitch.”

The Chronicle reports that Ashley’s PR firm is pouring cold water on rumoured interest from Dubai International Capital. A PR man said:

I would guide people well away from the link with Dubai International Capital.

The reality is there is nothing there on that.

The club is still up for sale and the asking price is £100m.

To ask how long it will take is almost an impossible question to answer.

It could go through in due course – or it could take six months.”

I still find it staggering that Ashley has a PR firm – the idea that he actually pays for the image they give him is laughable.

The Guardian has an article by Louise Taylor which suggests that the club may not be sold until next year. She claims that ‘several’ consortia have expressed an interest in buying and two have gone as far as performing due diligence, but buyers are wary of the huge wage bill, the restructuring effort needed and the £35m overdraft. I’m not sure where she gets this information from as I understood that non-disclosure agreements had to be signed by potential buyers. She does quote a ‘source close to efforts to find Newcastle a new owner’, but that ‘source’ appears to be Ashley’s PR firm and the quote is the same as the one from The Chronicle above, which mentions nothing about the number of consortia who have performed due diligence or the reasons why they’re reluctant to buy.

To be honest none of this tells us anything much beyond what we’re beginning to suspect anyway, namely that Ashley’s struggling to sell the club and that we might be stuck with him until January at least, which is a truly miserable prospect.

In fact, The Times has an article that suggests Ashley might recommit himself to the club for another 12 months, pumping in up to £40m in the hope that we gain promotion at the first attempt. I think it’s very unlikely that we’ll get promotion at the first attempt. I think it would have been unlikely even if we’d had a manager for the full pre-season and already brought in some decent transfer targets, but with the way things stand at the moment I reckon avoiding relegation is enough of a task for the new season.

The whole idea sucks if you ask me. It’s more short-termism and we’ll be stuck with an owner who doesn’t want the club scrabbling to get promotion just so that he’s better able to sell up, which I believe will be a failure on all counts. What we need is a committed owner, a manager appointed for at least 3 years and a long-term plan for rebuilding the club. However, if Ashley can’t sell the club the options are limited.

Having said all that, I was listening to Keith Harris on 5-Live last night and, whilst he admitted the club obviously won’t be sold before the season starts, he’s ‘hopeful he will be able announce something soon’. I hope that’s true and that he means he might be able to announce something about a sale rather than anything to do with Ashley staying, but I’m not placing much stock in it because we’ve heard similar sentiments before and they’ve come to nothing.

Better to have no hopes in my opinion because they keep getting dashed. As the classic line from John Cleese in ‘Clockwise’ goes: “It’s not the despair – I can cope with the despair. It’s the hope – that’s what’s killing me.”

Updated: According to the Daily Mirror, Keith Harris has told Mike Ashley that the club will be sold by the end of the month. He said:

It is not a shocking guess to say that sometime this month something positive will come out of it.

It would have been ideal for it to happen before next Saturday but clearly that won’t happen.”

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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One Response

  1. I wouldn’t believe a word Lee Ryder writes unless there’s some kind of compelling corroborating evidence. He’s probably working the ‘arrogant’, ‘sulky’ Frenchman angle here. The idiots will beleive him though, and probably start booing Bassong, if he ever makes another appearence for the club.