Newcastle United Q&A: Liam Kennedy talks Saudi takeover, legal action progress, NCSL & Steve Bruce's future

Uncertainty reigns supreme at St James’s Park at present – what’s new?

Takeover talk continues as legal action and talks bubble away in the background while troubles on the park continue to mount for the Newcastle United squad and manager Steve Bruce.

So, we asked writer Liam Kennedy for his views on the Toon Trending Topics – and here’s what he said…

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Are we any closer to a takeover at Newcastle United?

A lone security guard stands on duty outside the empty stadium ahead of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 21, 2020.

LK: “Well, yes I think we are definitely closer than we were a few weeks back. But things are moving slowly. We may feel we know a lot about the process, with so much information coming to light in recent days and weeks, but that probably only reflects 5% of the true takeover landscape. Backroom talks and negotiations are the order of the day when it comes to this deal – and we know very little about their nature, apart from the fact they’re pushing for a deal. People keep asking me about my confidence on whether this deal will pass, I can’t say either way to be honest. I am hopeful.”

What’s the state of play with the legal cases?

LK: “Newcastle United’s arbitration case is live and ongoing. Mike Ashley’s QCs were fighting on the notion the Premier League had restricted trade in ‘not allowing’ him to sell to PIF, PCP and the Reubens. That arbitration seems to have hit the buffers – as suggested by the NUFC statement – but movement on that front is hoped for. Separately, at the moment, is the Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd anti-competition case. Things are being worked on with legal representatives and legal papers, pushing this to court, could well come in the not too distant future. Nothing, on this front, is off the table. This particular legal case could head in any direction. It’s going to be a case of watch this space.”

Can you put a timescale on takeover progress?

LK: “Not really. Sadly. I’d love nothing more than to say it will be done by X or Y. But I can’t. The people involved can’t even say which way it will likely go never mind when that might actually happen. The consortium have made it clear they want to have an impact on January – and it’s easy to see why, because Newcastle United are on the slide.”

What about Steve Bruce’s future?

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LK: “I’m told, as per reports elsewhere, he is safe in his job… For now. Would that change with a takeover? The word a little while back was that he’d earned his opportunity. That was back in the summer, and it is difficult to see how Bruce has improved his standing since. Newcastle are getting worse in every department but they are not yet in relegation trouble. Bruce is Ashley’s man and a premature sacking is very unlikely. The only time that becomes a realistic prospect is if they club feel a takeover is close and their investment could go down the pan due to relegation. New owners may think they do not want to rock the boat in normal circumstances but it only takes one glance at HMS BruceBall to see the waters are already very, very choppy.”