Revealed! The real life impact of Newcastle United takeover uncertainty and Covid-19 cost-cutting behind the scenes at St James' Park

Newcastle United chiefs are facing up to the reality of the cost of Covid-19 football restrictions and uncertainty around the future of the football club by placing a freeze on recruitment.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:00 pm

The Gazette has learned that despite the recent departure of a high-profile member of Newcastle United’s senior management team, the club will NOT bring in a replacement, stating the ‘ongoing impact of Covid-19’ on the business.

It is understood uncertainty around the future ownership of the football club has also muddied waters at Newcastle United, with the club locked in a legal arbitration battle with the Premier League at present. Relegation from the Premier League could also have a profound impact on jobs at the football club.

In late February, the Magpies’ head of business development Kate Bradley left the football club to take up a new role as operations and strategic director with UK Athletics, departing after 13 years connected with United.

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Owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, Mike Ashley (L), arrives at the High Court on July 10, 2017 in London, England. Mr Ashley is defending himself against a lawsuit filed by former business associate Jeff Blue.

And it is understood the club will NOT replace her and have put recruitment on hold until at least the end of the current Premier League season. United chiefs have decided to share job responsibilities around at least three other members of staff, which is being seen by club insiders as a cost-cutting measure linked to the Magpies’ current financial plight.

This recruitment decision – said to have been passed down by managing director Lee Charnley – is set to be reviewed in May when there is a clearer ‘picture of the timeline ahead’.

United, like clubs across the land, are counting the cost of Covid restrictions.

Fans locked out of stadiums, commercial revenue drops, matchday income refunds and future TV deal rebates have hammered the United balance sheets.

And with the club run as self-sufficient under owner Mike Ashley – the Sports Direct tycoon only ever becoming a footballing benefactor to tidy up financial holes after relegations – cash is set to be in short supply at St James’ Park this summer, whoever the manager and whatever division United find themselves in.

Premier League ratification of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners takeover could change that financial landscape, but plans have been laid for a frugal short-term future at Newcastle in the event it does not get the top flight green light.

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