Amanda Staveley has finally broken her silence on her bid to buy Newcastle United.
Mike Ashley, the club’s owner, walked away from talks with Staveley this week.
But the financier’s £250million offer for the remains on the table.
Middle East-based Staveley spoke about her interest in the club after Ashley made it known that he felt talks with her had been a “waste of time”. Staveley, however, has now given her side of the story.
Staveley gave an interview to a national newspaper after Ashley – publicly – dismissed her bid for the club.
This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.Amanda Staveley
A source close to the billionaire said: “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time.”
Staveley has labelled those comments as “hurtful”.
“I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle – and our bid remains on the table,” said Staveley.
“I’m very concerned, I’m very surprised and I’m disappointed about what’s been said this week.
“The suggestion that we were either wasting time or not serious is absurd. It’s hurtful. Hugely hurtful. This is something we’ve been working really hard on.”
Ashley – who would consider an offer of £300 – wants bidders to show him the colour of their money.
So does Staveley have enough money? And where’s it from?
Earlier this week it was revealed that British property developers David and Simon Reuben had backed Staveley’s November bid.
Staveley has also claimed to have global backing, including cash from “sovereign wealth funds”.
“It’s not something we’ve just thrown together,” said Staveley. “I’m putting a lot of my own capital into this and our investors, who come from around the world, include sovereign wealth funds.”
Staveley, originally from Yorkshire, also spoke about what attracted her to the club – and the city.
“They’re such passionate fans and it’s a great club,” said Staveley. “I’m a northerner. My family home is an hour away from St James’s Park.
“I just love football and Newcastle has a proper history and a real magic.
“That passion of the fans is vitally important when you’re looking at a club, because you know that you’re a custodian.
“I’m also a passionate believer in investment in the North East, because I know it’s tough. A lot of great things are happening in the city – we’ve got friends, like the Reubens, who have invested there – and it’s a really special place, with its own identity. It is absolutely unique.”
Staveley says the club would be a “long-term investment”.
“This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment,” said the 44-year-old.
“Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.
“Rafa is doing an incredible job. We want Rafa (Benitez, United’s manager) to be part of this project.”
Staveley has reportedly pledged to invest at least £100m in players in the first two transfer windows of her ownership.