If you’ve missed the fact that Newcastle United have been taken over by PCP Capital Partners, RB Sports & Media, and Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, then where have you been hiding? The takeover has dominated football headlines during the international break, with a mixture of excitement and caution being the general feeling among Newcastle’s supporters.
The excitement comes from the fact that this takeover will make Newcastle incredibly wealthy. After years of tight purse strings and austerity under Mike Ashley, who had been desperate to sell the club for some time, Magpies fans can now look forward to some exciting new additions coming through the doors, as well as increased status in the bet exchange odds.
The caution is perhaps related to the involvement of the Saudi-backed PIF, with many pointing to the state’s questionable human rights record as cause for trepidation. But the most important thing as far as Newcastle’s supporters are concerned is that Ashley is out, and a bright future beckons in terms of on-pitch success.
There are obvious parallels between Newcastle’s new owners and the takeover of Manchester City back in 2008. Since then, City have become an established force in English football, and indeed Europe, with the club reaching the Champions League final for the first time last season. Is it possible that the same kind of meteoric rise awaits Newcastle?
Of course, these things take time. Newcastle are unlikely to become title contenders overnight, or indeed push for Champions League qualification. Many will remember some strange signings made by Manchester City in the early days of the new regime. Players came in for big money and failed to impress, without a proper strategy of recruitment in place.
Newcastle’s new owners must make sure that there is a strategic vision for the future, and recognise that overnight success cannot be bought. If they focus on making shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market, players who have the potential to improve and become pillars of the team’s rise in stature, they’ll be in a good position to challenge for honours a few years down the line.
It’s also important to have the right coach at the helm. Whilst Steve Bruce has done a good job of operating a steady ship during the last couple of years, there’s no doubt that the new owners will be seeking to bring in someone with more of a reputation worldwide. Whether that happens immediately or at the end of the season remains to be seen, but someone with a tactical roadmap of how the team will build success is key.
There’s always been a sense that Newcastle have been underachieving under Ashley. The owner became something of a closed door, unwilling to invest properly in the squad or communicate effectively with supporters. Amanda Staveley, one of the leading figures in the takeover, has already spoken positively about the future, and has vowed that those channels of communication will be restored.
“We’d like to thank the incredible fans,” Staveley said. “We wouldn’t be here without them today, it’s their club. We want to be great custodians of this club. We take our role very seriously. We don’t want to overpromise, because I’ve seen a lot of people come into clubs and say ‘We’ll do this’, but genuinely we want to really invest in every area of this club at every level.”
Exciting times are ahead. It’s a long shot to suggest that Newcastle will rise to the levels of Manchester City, at least anytime soon, but if the owners can implement a plan of action, and get the team moving in the right direction on the pitch, that will be a solid first step on what could be a very prosperous journey for the club.