Revealed! Mike Ashley's view on a Saudi Arabia-backed Newcastle United takeover
Mike Ashley believes the proposed Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle United would take the club to a “different level”, according to Steve Bruce.
Financier Amanda Staveley had put together a consortium which included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), but the takeover was not approved over concerns about the autonomy of the sovereign wealth fund.
PIF and Ashley, however, maintain that they addressed these concerns, and United this week issued a strongly-worded statement criticising the Premier League and its chief executive Richard Masters. The Premier League responded with a statement of their own.
Bruce spoke to Ashley this week when he visited the club’s training ground, and United’s head coach has revealed the billionaire’s view on what a PIF-funded takeover would have meant for the club.
“It hasn’t happened, so, for me now, let’s get on with it,” said Bruce, who was speaking ahead of tomorrow’s season-opener against West Ham United.
“I think this one (takeover) was a bit different and unique, because of who was involved, but, for me, it hasn’t happened, so let’s forget about takeovers and move on. My job’s to focus on and improve the team.
“The one thing a takeover does is put everybody in a position of uncertainty. That’s never healthy.
"We’ve all said it would’ve been wonderful for the club. The owner thought it would take Newcastle to a different level because of the people involved, so that would have been exciting for the club.
"But it looks like it’s dead in the water, so my job now is to focus on the squad and the team, and move on.”
Ashley put the club up for sale in late 2017.
Bruce added: “To be fair to Mike, he only wants what’s best for the club. He was in quite a unique situation. It doesn’t look as if it’s happened, so, for me, it’s about getting on with business and usual, and trying to do the best we can.
"If I look where we are now from where we were 12 months ago, the squad’s stronger and better.”