No excuses after takeover twist - Mike Ashley must back Steve Bruce in the transfer window at Newcastle United

Only this could happen to Newcastle United.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:09 pm

It’s a phrase that has often popped up on our social media timelines over the last 24 hours, days and what feels like months – and it’s one we’re all surely inclined to agree with.

In what was already the longest takeover saga in Premier League history by a considerable distance is about to become a whole lot more painful.

Fifteen months on from when PCP Partners, the Public Investment of Saudi Arabia and the Reuben brothers agreed to take the club off Mike Ashley’s hands – there is still no end in sight.

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Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce. (Photo by DAVID KLEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Leak after leak. Delay after delay. "Issues with the disclosure of evidence” is the latest reason given as to why this takeover has not yet been approved or for that matter, rejected.

Quite astonishingly and appallingly, United fans now have to wait until ‘early 2022’ for arbitration to resume. That’ll be approaching two years since Amanda Staveley first brokered the £305million deal.

And even then, there are still no guarantees over the outcome then. Will the same statement be issued next year as well?

It’s a dark cloud that continues to hang over a once-proud football club whose passionate supporters deserve so much better.

How ironic is it that after a weekend where a group of Newcastle fans travelled to London and protest outside of parliament for transparency, look to be handed another six months, at least, of silence.

And after a year where the importance of fans has not been greater – Magpies supporters couldn’t feel any more underappreciated if they tried.

But do you know who also deserves better? Steve Bruce and his players. They’re also in the middle of all this.

Here is a sharp reminder that the club’s Premier League campaign gets underway in 26 days.

There’s no sniff of any new signings. Questions marks remain over Bruce’s transfer budget.

Yes, it's nothing out the unusual under Ashley's 14-year ownership but it doesn't make it any easier, not when a mega-rich owner is waiting in the wings.

Indeed, if the arbitration process had prevented Ashley from backing Bruce in the transfer market this summer then there is no excuse after Monday's joint statement.

Maybe the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) case will provide some positivity but you’d presume that is unlikely to fall before the deadline on August 31.

That is why it’s time to move on from the takeover, not forever because we’re all still clinging onto the hope this game-changer is approved, but until arbitration next comes round.

As it stands, Newcastle are firm relegation candidates and without Joe Willock, the squad is considerably weaker.

With Florian Lejeune set to leave and Andy Carroll gone, a central defender is needed and preferably a back-up striker to Callum Wilson.

Bruce needs to be supported, regardless of whether fans believe he is the right man for the job.

Investment is desperately needed. To put that into Ashley's language, survival is mandatory in order for any sale at the price he wants – Staveley, PIF or perhaps someone else.

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