Newcastle takeover: ‘All is not lost’ with American Henry Mauriss ‘interested’ in buying Premier League club as Saudi group back out of £300m deal
Newcastle are stuck with Mike Ashley for the time being after the Saudi Arabia backed takeover collapsed.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund walked away from the £300million bid while the Premier League considered the deal.
The takeover attempt had been dogged by criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and its links to piracy.
A statement released by the group on Thursday cited the prolonged process and global uncertainty meant it was no longer financially viable.
However, there are reportedly other suitors out there who might come in with a bid for the club.
talkSPORT’s man in the North East, Graham Courtney, explained how American entrepreneur Henry Mauriss could be the man to save Newcastle from Sports Direct kingpin Ashley.
He told talkSPORT: “I don’t think anybody is too surprised. It’s just been going on and on and on. It’s been going on longer than the coronavirus this thing.
“Sadly, I think every Newcastle United fan, certainly over the last three or four weeks saw it coming.
“Initially it looked as though they were caught in the crossfire with everything going on with Saudi Arabia and alleged piracy of Premier League rights and they’ve become more and more sceptical about the whole thing.
“However, all is not lost because in the background there is an American called Henry Mauriss who has also been interested in buying the football club. What actually happened was three or four weeks ago, the agreement between Mike Ashley and the investment fund and Amanda Staveley, where only they could be involved in it, that lapsed.
“This allowed other parties to come and show their interest. From what we can gather Henry Mauriss is one of those people.”
Courtney also explained how the takeover of Newcastle should be relatively straight forward despite the delays that led to the Saudi takeover being abandoned.
He added: “You have to say, if there’s a football club out there that would be very easy to take over it would be Newcastle United because there are no shareholders, no board of directors, it’s Mike Ashley.
“You deal with him. He will either give thumbs up or thumbs down, a bit like Caesar. It should be very easy.
“I know that Newcastle fans are obviously very disgruntled about the way he’s run the football club. If you look at it as purely a business, forget it’s a football club, Newcastle United is actually in very good shape.
“It has no debts and Mike Ashley just wants him money back. You pay Mike Ashley and that’s it. Everyone can walk away. It’s an easy deal to be done.”
talkSPORT’s Jim White spoke to Amanda Staveley, who was heading up the bid to buy the club, following the announcement who vowed to not give up.
Jim White said: “Time up. It’s taken too long. The bid was real. It’s been there all the time. Ashley agreed to it and they’ve told me today they were going to allocate £250million more for the club, the academy and the community.
“It’s all gone. Having said that, I don’t know how genuine it is, as Amanda Staveley said goodbye to me, she said ‘get it out there, we will not give up’.
Newcastle Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder also commented on the failed takeover and how it was a big blow for the club’s fans.
He told talkSPORT: “I think they went in there with the best intentions and reached out to people in the city and done their homework, there’s no doubt about that.
“Being objective about it, why would you make all that public before you’ve bought the club?
“They want it but you can do all of those things once you are through the door and publicise it.
“That made me wonder how much the intent has been there. It’s Newcastle, typical drama. We’re here again at the soap opera club.
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“It’s difficult for the fans to take and you feel for them at this moment.
“I know and the fans know that the potential of this club is a lot more than 13th in the Premier League. I know all clubs say that but we’ve lived and breathed Champions League games and Champions League nights under Bobby Robson, challenged for titles under (Kevin) Keegan.
“We know that this club, if it’s ran properly and the right TLC, is there. It can challenge at the very top.”