The Newcastle United takeover team which has put the Premier League and Richard Masters on the back foot
The Premier League, it seems, is on the back foot.
The statement itself revealed nothing about the arbitration that it is pursuing following the summer collapse of a Saudi Arabia-backed takeover, supported by the overwhelming majority of fans, over the Premier League’s failure to make a timely decision on its approval.
Nonetheless, the statement, which responded to a Premier League letter sent to Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd (NCSL) in response to a separate legal action, was still revealing.
It read: "The club makes no comment on the substance of the arbitration, but it can confirm that it has issued arbitration proceedings against the EPL.”
The statement’s last paragraph, which named the Premier League’s lawyers, was particularly pointed.
"It is unclear when those proceedings will be resolved, given the approach of the EPL and its lawyers, Bird & Bird,” it went on. “Nevertheless, the club will continue to use its best efforts to press for a fair, full and timely hearing of its claim.”
And that’s the thing. Fans want a timely resolution to the legal proceedings, but that, right now, seems a forlorn hope. This has already gone on too long, and the statement does hide the club’s frustration at the Premier League – and it’s legal team.
Amanda Staveley, the financier behind the proposed £300million deal, has been working on a takeover for years. Sources close to Staveley insisted in the summer that she wasn’t about to give up after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, frustrated at the Premier League’s failure to make a decision on the deal, withdrew their backing.
David and Simon Reuben, ready to take a 10% stake in the club, also reiterated their commitment to the takeover through a public statement issued by Arena Racing Company, owners of Newcastle Racecourse.
It read: “We would welcome any resurrection of talks and progress with the Premier League, and are aware that the Reuben brothers remain totally supportive of the deal should there be a way forward.”
Staveley and her backers, owner Mike Ashley and the club's fanbase are all on the same side now – and, importantly, they’ve got on to the front foot.
They can see a way forward.