Everything key Newcastle United takeover players said about the European Super League saga – and why

The collapse of the European Super League was more significant than many may have imagined for Newcastle United and their stalled PCP Consortium takeover.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:00 am
A general view of the sun setting behind St James' Park, from the Leazes end of the stadium during the second half of the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on January 03, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

And increased social media activity from the key players in the Magpies’ ownership saga shows not only the importance of the breakaway proposals to English football and the regular football fan, but also the deal itself.

It is widely accepted that had the six got their way and pushed ahead with the ESL, it would have diluted the competitive value of the Premier League significantly and also taken away rewards for merit – and that was even if they’d been allowed to stay. This devaluation of the competition would have been even more stark had they been kicked out.

No big games, and less chance of getting involved at Europe’s top table would severely limit the value of Newcastle United on the open market – something which would have been acutely felt by Mike Ashley, who would likely have to kiss goodbye to his £300m+ valuation.

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His current deal, brokered at what is believed to be around £340m with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners, would also potentially not be worth the paper it was written on, as we know the real reason for the Saudis wanting in at United is the thought of turning the Magpies into a multi billion-pound club and to promote their country and its worth to the world through the lense of a Premier League, worldwide audience.

With that in mind, it’s no shock to see THREE key takeover players becoming more prolific on social media this week. Here’s what Jamie Reuben, Nick De Marco and Mehrdad Ghodoussi have been saying about the ESL and its twists and turns.

Reuben Brothers – Jamie Reuben – @jamiereuben

Reuben was lined up to be part of the Newcastle United board, when the deal was set to go through. He has since resigned from his post on the QPR board – and is still thought to be one of the five members likely to be appointed, should the consortium eventually get the regulatory approval they seek.

Quote tweeting the BBC’s Dan Roan, who confirmed Chelsea were prepared to withdraw, Reuben said: “Thankfully common sense has prevailed and the game we know and love will continue as it has.”

Mike Ashley’s legal team – Nick De Marco QC – @nickdemarco_

De Marco, known as the Lionel Messi of sports law has been hired, along with Shaheed Fatima, to fight the Premier League and force through the deal. He’s first in to bat for the club in their arbitration against the top flight.

The Blackstone Chambers QC evaluating the Super League withdrawals: “Well that must win the prize for the shortest ever European football competition! A good example of how not to play a hand, but also how central football is to society. Yet the economic & social forces that led to this fiasco will cause other fundamental changes in the future.”

Tweeted pre-ESL collapse, De Marco said: “Just heard ‘The Lawyer’ magazine says ‘those in the legal market are currently holding sweepstakes’ as to who might instruct me in the ESL dispute. It’s nice to be mentioned alongside such esteemed colleagues, but I’m sure everyone will understand if I can’t comment on all this.”

PCP Capital Partners – Mehrdad Ghodoussi – @ghodoussi

Ghodoussi, with wife Amanda Staveley, brokered the Saudi deal and is set to own 10% of the football club, if the deal is green-lighted.

On Sunday, when first reports emerged of the deal, PCP’s Ghodoussi said: “When football becomes just about money #superleague.”

He then followed that up with: “There’s no question that money plays a hugely important role in sports and football, as it does with anything. However, there is a line that should not be crossed when you begin to endanger the essence of the game and it’s competitive nature. #SuperLeagueOut #PremierLeague.”

Tuesday then brought a quote tweet of Everton FC’s statement against the ESL, saying: “Great statement by the board of Everton Owners should never forget they are simply custodians. #evertonfc #premierleague #superleagueout #nufc.”

Note the #NUFC on the end. And then a RT of Sky Sports Premier League’s account – @SkySportsPL – about Wolves’ tongue-n-cheek take on Premier League success of years-gone-by. It read: “Wolves have updated their Twitter bio declaring themselves 2018/19 Premier League champions, after they finished th behind the six clubs planning to join the Super League...”

Then, on the evening of the collapse, Ghodoussi tweeted his thoughts on the situation falling apart: “I hope this will now be the end of this complete farce. A huge stain and embarrassment for all those involved. Glad to see Man City and Chelsea coming to their senses so quickly.”

Ghodoussi, with Staveley a Tory party supporter and donor, retweeted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s tweet on events. It read: “The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely the right one and I commend them for it. I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

And as the continental dregs confirmed their departure from the ill-conceived plan on Wednesday, Ghodoussi underlined his part-ownership credentials with the following: “A huge lesson learnt over the last 48hrs. Its a tough job owning a club, no doubt about it, mistakes will be made. Run your clubs well, make money, increase the value of your investment, but never forget what it’s really all about. #PremierLeague.”