Rangers boss tipped
Gerrard in sights as new era begins at St James’ Park
Steven Gerrard is said to be among favourites for the St James’ Park dug out
A new era at Newcastle United has kicked off with the £300m takeover of the club by a consortium led by the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
With the Magpies now backed by the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the successful conclusion of the long-running saga propels the club into the mega-rich category alongside the likes of Manchester City and Paris St-Germain.
The deal, which gives the £700bn PIF an 80% controlling stake, brought Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley’s controversial 14-year trophy-less tenure to an end.
No decision has been taken on manager Steve Bruce, although it is thought the new owners want to appoint their own man before opening the bulging transfer cheque book.
The odds on Rangers boss Steven Gerrard taking over were slashed shortly after the deal was confirmed, the former Liverpool captain joining the likes of Eddie Howe, Brendan Rodgers and Antonio Conte among the early favourites for the job.
Mike Ashley: fans wanted him to sell
The new owners left fans in no doubt as to their aspirations, with incoming director Amanda Staveley saying the Premier League title is among a number of targets.
“Newcastle United deserves to be top of the Premier League. We want to get there. It will take time, but we will get there,” said Staveley, chief executive of PCP Capital Partners, who brokered the deal.
“This is a long-term investment. We are excited about the future prospects for Newcastle United.
“We intend to establish a clear purpose, and help provide leadership that will allow Newcastle United to go on to big achievements over the long term.
Brendan Rodgers has also been named as a target (pic: SNS Group)
“Our ambition is aligned with the fans – to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe.about:blankImageUpload an image file, pick one from your media library, or add one with a URL.UploadMedia LibraryInsert from URL
“We’re proud to be part of the Premier League. It’s an incredibly competitive league, which we love. Premier League football is the best in the world, and Newcastle United is the best team in the world.
“We want to see it get those trophies, obviously. At top of the Premier League, in Europe, but to get trophies means patience, investment, time. We want everybody to work with us to build the club towards what it needs to be.”
Financier Staveley is joined at St James’ Park by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of PIF who will serve as non-executive chairman. Jamie Reuben, brother of London-based Simon and David Reuben, who own Newcastle Racecourse, will also join the board, representing RB Sports & Media.
The deal was able to be concluded after a surprise development saw the Saudi state resolve its issues with Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports over alleged illegal streaming of Premier League football.
Confirming the takeover, the Premier League said: “The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.
“Following the completion of the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect.
“The legal disputes concerned which entities would own and/or have the ability to control the club following the takeover. All parties have agreed the settlement is necessary to end the long uncertainty for fans over the club’s ownership.
“The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.
“All parties are pleased to have concluded this process which gives certainty and clarity to Newcastle United Football Club and their fans.
High street billionaire and former Rangers shareholder Ashley first put Newcastle up for sale in 2008, just 12 months after taking control.
Supporters have been disenchanted with his running of the club for a long time but descended on St James’ Park in their thousands to celebrate the news, dreaming of multi-million-pound investment in the playing squad with an influx of some of the game’s biggest names.