This is why Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is 'disappointed'

Steve Bruce is hoping takeover speculation is behind him at Newcastle United – and a successful season is ahead of his team.
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley.Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley.
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley.

Bruce's side kick off their Premier League campaign with a game against West Ham United at the London Stadium tomorrow.

The fixture comes after United issued a strongly-worded statement criticising the Premier League and its chief executive Richard Masters over what it claimed was a “rejection” of a proposed Saudi Arabia-backed takeover which could have transformed the club on and off the pitch.

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A “disappointed” Ashley, on Tyneside this week to meet Bruce and his players, is now considering legal action against the Premier League over the proposed £300million deal.

For his part, Bruce – who this week welcomed Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis to the club – is hoping to be able to focus on the campaign ahead of him.

“It's as if now it has eventually gone away – that's what it looks like now,” said United’s head coach.

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“I've spoken about it many, many times, and it was a unique situation which everybody looked at and thought 'well, if this happens, does it lift Newcastle straight away into the realms of a Manchester City, shall we say, or a Chelsea?'.

“That's what the owner is disappointed in, that it hasn't gone through for everybody concerned, because it would be great to see this club trying to compete like that, and that's what it needs in that respect.

Steve Bruce.Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

“When it's gone away, now we have to say, 'right, OK, let's get on with our business as best we can, and try to make the squad better and finish above were we did last year'. I certainly look at the squad now and think it's better with the people we’ve brought in.

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“We were working hard underneath the storm, if you like, to try to bring them in and for them all to fall into place just at he right time, you say a big 'well done' to Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director) for getting them over the line before we start, which was great.”

There’s now some welcome optimism on Tyneside after a difficult six weeks following the withdrawal of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund from the takeover process.

“Only a signing can do that, a couple of signings can do that, especially when you bring in a centre-forward too,” said Bruce.

“Then to manage to beat off particularly Aston Villa, then you need to owner to flex his muscles, which he did, to make sure it happened. Ryan Fraser had six or seven different options, so we mustn't under-estimate that.

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“To play for Newcastle is still a big thing for a lot of players, lets not ever under-estimate that. We've got a marvellous club to play for when it's real, shall we say, when the real world starts again.”

Ashley, an infrequent visitors to St James’s Park in recent seasons, has told Newcastle’s players that he intends to watch more games this season.

“He still is interested,” said Bruce. “Obviously, the takeover has fallen through, which has disappointed him – for the fans, I think, more than anything because obviously it was quite a unique takeover.

“It was something that might have taken Newcastle to where everybody wants it to be."