#Cans, ambitions, Philippe Coutinho & Timo Werner links plus managerial uncertainty – inside an extraordinary seven days at Newcastle United following £305m takeover
It has been an extraordinary week at Newcastle United under its new Saudi Arabian-backed ownership. And, excitingly, this is just the start.
Within the space of 48 hours, the Magpies went from despising life under Mike Ashley to entering a new dawn with PCP Partners, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the Reuben brothers.
To put it simply, it has been a relentless yet rewarding week on Tyneside as fans hope it is the beginning of United’s rise back to the top.
Here, we look back on the last seven days at St James’s Park and pick out the key events:
The scenes outside St James’s Park
Soon after the takeover was announced, thousands of Newcastle flocked to St James’s Park, most of whom brought their #cans for a carnival atmosphere.
Make no doubt about it, this was one of the biggest days in the club’s 129-year history and it was a moment to saviour, one fans can say ‘I was there’.
Beers, flags, chants, more beers and even the odd flare created scenes all kinds of different families and friends were there to witness.
Perhaps the most prominent photo from the night. A proud father held his son up in the air with the caption “one day I will tell you about the day Newcastle United became the richest club in the world, and we got to experience it together”.
Was it celebrating becoming one of the wealthiest clubs on the planet or was it finally getting rid of Ashley?
In truth, it was probably more of the latter following 14 years of no hope and no ambition, living through countless bad and baffling decisions, which ultimately formed a soul-draining experience.
The party descended into the night. And it was fitting fans could celebrate a bigger and better Newcastle United together, especially not long after being locked up in their houses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Amanda Staveley interview
"It’s done”. Those were the first words ushered by part owners and directors Amanda Staveley and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi to the small section of supporters and the press that gathered outside Jesmond Dene House.
Both took time to meet and engage with those in attendance as she prepared to face the local and national press on the same night.
Our reporter Miles Starforth spoke exclusively with Staveley. You got a clear impression she really understands the city, its people, the club and its passionate fanbase as she outlined her exciting plans.
“It's not just about growth on the football pitch,” said Staveley. “It’s about growth on the academy side and the infrastructure in the city. We’ve partnered with Jamie Reuben. We’ve worked with the Reuben family for over 10 years.
"One of the attractions, and one of the opportunities I had with PIF, is that they understand the bigger picture. They understand that sporting success comes with wider investment in the whole community.
"This club is at the heart of the community, and we’ve got to make sure we invest in all of the community at every level.
“We’re not short of ambition, I can tell you that,” as she also spoke of ambitions to one day become Premier League champions.
“We know that we’re not going to get to where we want to today or next year, but we will get there. It takes time.
“It’s a long-term project. We’re patient investors. This is a very long-term partnership with the club and the fans. So we can’t just come in and do this overnight. It’s going to take some time.”
Endless amount of rumours
Newcastle have been linked with every man and his dog since PIF, whose reported wealth is £320billion, gained the keys to St James’s Park.
This is the new era the Magpies are entering. With wealth comes interest and in the long-term comes the ability to attract the best players in the world.
That alone, along with plans to boost the infrastructure, is undoubtedly exciting and requires some supporters to pinch themselves after the grim Ashley times.
The transfer rumour mill has gone from haggling over signing Hamza Choudhury on loan to acquiring a player such as Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona and Chelsea’s Timo Werner. It’s crazy.
But at the very moment, it’s important fans shut out the noise because with wealth also comes agent talk. In Newcastle’s case, they’ve essentially become bait for agents and intermediaries overnight.
It’s worth noting the new owners are still unclear over the managerial position and they are yet to appoint a sporting director – two jobs that are the driving force behind any concrete transfer shortlist.
Steve Bruce uncertainty
Staveley & Co quickly called for patience but the future of head coach Steve Bruce has dragged on too long for supporters’ liking.
The fans’ views on Bruce remain unchanged, and many are desperate to see the end of the man controversially appointed by the previous regime.
Staveley and Ghodoussi visited the club’s outdated training ground for the first time on Monday, with the general understanding that Bruce would be sacked.
Tons of reports emerged, suggesting candidates such as Lucien Favre, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and more were being lined up.
However, the meeting between the pair and Bruce went no further than the 60-year-old’s offering his views on the current first-team squad.
Bruce took training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before a scheduled date off on Thursday as the uncertainty creeps on.
Fans have spoken about Sunday’s Premier League encounter with Tottenham Hotspur as being a new start, and some feel Bruce’s presence could dampen the spirits.
PIF get the final call and as of now, Bruce will face the media on Friday and be in the dugout when Spurs visit.