The Toon Tribune: Why the Newcastle Rafalution is under threat

Connect in the back of the net

When news broke of Amanda Stavely’s offer for ownership of Newcastle United on the 21st November, there was much cause for optimism among the Toon Army.

However, with little materialising thus far the buoyancy has filtered out somewhat and with United’s recent slump on the pitch, many fans are now desperate for a takeover to be completed.

Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Chelsea condemned Newcastle to their fifth defeat in six games, with the Magpies acquiring only one point in the process.

After a bright start that included a three-game winning streak, manager Rafa Benitez stated the reason for Newcastle’s recent struggles was the nature of the Premier League, adding “we are where we are because of what we have”, indicating a lack of investment in his squad.

On top of that, injuries have taken their toll on United’s already thin squad, with casualties to captain Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett causing Rafa to shuffle his back four, while also leaving the club without a fit recognised left-back.

In the early stages of the bid from Stavely, it was suggested that both parties were hopeful that a deal could be completed before the festive period, allowing the new owners to invest in the club in the January transfer window.

That now seems unlikely, with obstacles in the way from both Stavely and current owner Mike Ashley. Ashley deemed the first bid unacceptable as he values the club higher than the current offer, while Stavely is believed to want a relegation clause included should the club drop down to the Championship again.

The positive news for Newcastle fans is that negotiations are continuing, with Stavely still serious about purchasing the club. However, sources claim that progress must be made within the next week if the current bid is to be successful by January.

If accepted, Stavely’s company PCP Capital Partners have indicated they are willing to spend significantly in the winter window in an attempt to secure Newcastle’s Premier League safety.

The deal is now in the balance. Experts believe that the potential buyers will wait for Newcastle to cement their position in the League before continuing their pursuit, with the threat of relegation being a possibility, particularly after the Magpies’ recent form. This could then result in a possible takeover at the latter stages of the season, however all depends on occurrences on the pitch.

If a deal is not concluded by January, Ashley did state that he would still fund the club for transfers and help to bolster the squad for the remainder of the season. The extent to which Ashley will spend is unknown, although it would be less than what the potential new owners will invest; nevertheless, Newcastle fans should be reassured that money will be spent in the upcoming window regardless.

Newcastle’s success on the pitch is as important as the takeover itself. By staying in the Premier League, United will have access to the huge television money available. This, added to any other funds by new owners will provide the club with a substantial war-chest in order to allow Rafa Benitez to acquire top players for the club and then build from there.

With PCP Capital Partners currently the only known interested party, the Toon Army will hope that Ashley does not let them down once again. Stavely and her company’s interest is huge in reshaping Newcastle United to be a top club once again; the opportunity does not come greater and fans are eager for Ashley to sell up.

If nothing materialises then this sadly may be the end of the ‘Rafalution’. Benitez has made it explicit that he was unhappy with the manner of the last transfer window and he will no doubt not remain under the current regime.

This is unimaginable however, and we hope the future is bright in Black and White.


Written by Dawud Arshad

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