Ex-Sunderland chairman Bob Murray claims Saudi sale would be 'saddest day' in Newcastle United's history – and slams owner Mike Ashley
Ex-Sunderland chairman Bob Murray believes the sale of Newcastle United to the PCP Consortium could prove to be the saddest day in the Magpies’ history.
But the 74-year-old former Wearside chief believes United are stuck between a rock and a hard place, with Murray also slamming current owner Mike Ashley for his running of the St James’ Park outfit.
Sports Direct tycoon Ashley is fighting the Premier League to seek approval of the sale of the club, thought to have been agreed at £340m, through the top flight’s owners’ and directors’ test. Waiting in the wings is PCP Capital Partners, fronted up by Amanda Staveley, as well as the Reuben Brothers and potential majority shareholder, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to BBC Radio Newcastle’s Total Sport programme, Murray does not think handing over the keys to the Saudis will be a positive move for United, despite fans’ being in favour of the stalled sale.
“I think it will be the saddest day in Newcastle’s life if they change hands here because everything to do with that great club will be lost, most likely,” said Murray.
“You have got to watch what you wish for in this life. Watch what you wish for."
When asked whether foreign ownership is the problem, Murray goes on to speak in glowing terms about the Abu Dhabi United Group, who Staveley also helped bring to the Premier League: “I know them at Manchester City – I was surprised they joined the ship. There are things about them at Manchester City that are very credible. I am close to them and I like what they do.”
And speaking of Ashley, Murray continued: “I have got nothing to do with the current owner, I wouldn’t be seen with him. I’ve seen his behaviour and I wouldn’t have anything to do with him.
“They (the Premier League) do their financial due diligence but just because someone has got the money doesn’t mean they’re fit for the job. There are different criteria.
“I was with Steve Gibson at the weekend – what a fantastic club chairman. What a generous man. He would do anything for that club – and has.
“That is the contrast between Newcastle and Middlesbrough.”