By 90Min
May 20, 2018

Newcastle United remain up for sale under Mike Ashley, but with the businessman wanting £400m for the club it looks likely that it will remain that way for some time.

When the Magpies were embroiled in their takeover saga earlier in the season between Ashley and Amanda Staveley - back when the asking price sat at just £300m - everyone saw that the price was the sticking point.

With the fans, St James' Park and a world class manager in Rafa Benitez at the helm, there is no denying that Newcastle have the potential to become a huge club and a major financial success under new ownership.

Stu Forster/GettyImages

The problem is, to reach that success, there is also need for significant investment - and this was the issue repeatedly brought up with Staveley's takeover bid, that £300m up front was too much when a further £100m or so was needed in investment on the pitch.

Or at least, it was in order to achieve the upper echelons of Premier League football, where any new ownership would be looking to reach.

It was for that reason, when Newcastle went through their post-January renaissance of sorts and reached the lofty heights of tenth, with an eighth place finish well within reach, fans started to become excited again.

While the club was not worth £300m when doggedly fighting a relegation battle, perhaps with a lower top-half finish it might just be worth it - someone might just take the gamble.

LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

And then Ashley struck again, inflating the asking price to £400m, where it has remained since Newcastle finished their Premier League campaign in tenth.

It's caused the exact same problem the Magpies had with the original price when in the relegation scrap, just with costs inflated because they're slightly higher up the table.

Nobody is willing to pay that much money for a club that still requires significant financial investment on top of new players and improvements to facilities like the academy, long before it can think of achieving success and silverware for new owners.

When Ashley first put the club up for sale he talked about wanting a quick sale - clearly that must have been on a different timescale to the fans, because with his overly-high, uncompromising valuations that quick timeframe still isn't going to be any time soon.

Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

The biggest fear for Newcastle fans from this though is that it directly impacts the future of manager Rafa Benitez - arguably the biggest asset the Tyneside club have.

He requires assurances from the board that his ambitions are met - ambitions that fans are screaming out for the higher-ups of the club to comply with - and yet under Ashley they're never going to be.

The demands, not unreasonable in any way for a Premier League club with aspirations, require money to be put into the club, and fans remained skeptical when Ashley said he would make 'every penny' available to Benitez in an interview with Sky Sports.

It seems like a fancy way of subverting the fact he won't be getting direct backing from the owner and instead will be required to sell to spend - something Newcastle can't afford to do in a Premier League environment where all others teams are simply spending.

LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

In all, with Ashley unwilling to budge on his overpriced demands for the club, it looks like the Toon Army faithful are set for more years under the current ownership, frustrated at a lack of significant spending.

They will desperately cling to Benitez but fans aren't under the illusion that he is going to stay forever. There will be a breaking point, a moment at which the continuous broken promises and falsehoods over financial backing and spending budgets gets to be too much, and he finally leaves.

Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Then Newcastle really won't be worth £400m, or £300m for that matter, and Ashley will have little hope of selling the club for profit.

He's in the best position right now to make a good sale - likely the only time he'll be in that position - but through illogical stubbornness it looks like he's going to throw that opportunity away.

If it keeps up on current form, it won't be too long before Benitez walks and 'Ashley Out' protests make a return to St James' Park.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)