Newcastle United takeover: Sunday Supplement journalists give their view on Mike Ashley
Sky Sports pundits and national journalists have reacted with cynicism to the news that Mike Ashley is on the verge of selling Newcastle United.
Ashley revealed this week that negotiations over selling the Magpies are at a more progressed stage than they have ever been.
A number of fans have responded with doubts over the veracity of Ashley's claims, and that was echoed by journalists on Sy Sports' Sunday Supplement today.
Here's what they said:
Jonathan Northcroft, Sunday Times
"If I was a cynic I'd look at the fact that there's a transfer window coming up where the manager of Newcastle would quite like some reinforcements and the fans would like Mike Ashley to spend, and I'd also look at the fact that those fans are going to protest.
"There's a really really nice coincidence that there's a story Newcastle are going to be taken over put out by Mike Ashley that just comes at a time where fans call off the protests and he can then say 'I'm not going to spend because we're being taken over'.
"Now that's a really cynical reading of it and I hope I'm completely wrong but we've been here before with Mike Ashley where from time to time he dangles this prospect of selling the club. He does want to sell the club but for a very high price and under his own terms.
"I do feel cynical about the timing and it does seem quite convenient for Mike. It's a typical thing where he said 'I'm more hopeful of selling than ever' which is pretty vague stuff and you do find with football takeovers that they just happen, they're not trailed publicly. There's already been doubt cast on whether this American consortium led by Peter Kenyon has any money behind it so I suspect we might be here in the summer talking about the same thing.
"I hope for Newcastle fans' sake I'm completely wrong because as we all know, that club needs a new direction.
"Rafa doesn't want to leave, he loves Newcastle but he's at crunch time. His contract is up in the summer and he can't compete for any prizes or titles while he's at Newcastle, that''s what he's in football to do. His heart is there but he wants there to be change.He wants some sort of different direction."
Andy Dunn, The Mirror
"This time around, if Ashley doesn't find a buyer, I think the ramifications are more serious for him than they were in the past.
"I think what you'll find is not a furious backlash from Newcastle fans in terms of protests or any direct action, I think you'll find that if it doesn't come off this time that basically fans will just start being apathetic, lose interest, not go to games, St James's Park won't be full and it will be a long decline."