'The fight must go on' – Newcastle United takeover message reiterated as deal positivity returns
Political pressure is mounting on the Premier League amid a backdrop of increased Newcastle United takeover positivity.
The message from the Magpies' buyers-in-waiting remains, though – 'the fight must go on'.
The Gazette has learned talks between the potential buyers and seller are on-going, with conversations taking place daily to discuss the way forward for the bid. Wantaway Mike Ashley is unlikely to request a fresh or increased deposit from the bidders should the deal be rekindled, with the Sports Direct tycoon already pocketing the non-refundable £17 million down-payment.
Legal action is, as previously reported, thought to be an option for all involved, depending on the Premier League's next move. When approached by the Gazette re the takeover, the Premier League continued to stick to their "no comment" approach.
Some confusion surrounds the deal itself, struck between the consortium and Ashley for £300 million, with its current status unknown.
The deal was not pulled immediately, when the consortium made their statement of withdrawal. And as yet, it has not been 100% confirmed whether said offer remains live, or has been officially withdrawn, as per the consortium statement.
There is a willingness from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers to come back around the table with the Premier League, if the problem of naming KSA as the majority shareholder can be ironed out.
And sources close to the bid claim there is a growing sense of optimism around the potential purchase, with fan pressure and political angles seemingly making inroads in public and behind the scenes.
This news will come as a boost to United fans who have been calling for some word from the buyers-in-waiting, with a growing sense fans had 'done their bit' for the cause.
The 'pressure from all angles' approach has seen more than 100,000 Newcastle fans sign a change.org petition for an independent review of the owners and directors test process. As well as that, just shy of 50 MPs have written letters to the Premier League CEO Richard Masters, while the country's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has added his weight to a call for clarity via the Independent Football Ombudsman.
When approached by the Gazette, ombudsman, Professor Derek Fraser, said: "I sympathise with you and other Newcastle United supporters over the ownership issue and the recent withdrawal of the offer to buy the club.
"While acknowledging your disappointment at the outcome, I have to inform you that neither the ownership of clubs nor the operation of the Owners and Directors Test fall within the remit of the IFO. The resolution of the takeover issue was clearly the responsibility of the Premier League and you will need to pursue your concerns with the League. I understand that the Newcastle United Supporters Trust has requested that the Premier League should make a statement to fans explaining how the case was handled. This seems to be a reasonable request and I will advise the Premier League accordingly."
And for now, the Newcastle United faithful, like the buyers and seller, must play the waiting game.