Regional Review: Newcastle takeover still has legs and why points don't tally with feeling

In the new Regional Review feature in the Pitch to Post Review podcast, Sky Sports News' north-east reporter Keith Downie talks all things Newcastle, including the takeover, supporter happiness with Steve Bruce, and Allan Saint-Maximin's new deal

Newcastle Regional Review

Keith Downie tells the new Regional Review section of the Pitch to Post Review podcast the Newcastle takeover story still has legs as Mike Ashley prepares to take on the Premier League.

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Newcastle have criticised the Premier League after it officially rejected Amanda Staveley's Saudi-backed takeover of the club, and Ashley is also understood to be extremely frustrated at the process, having attempted to resurrect talks over a potential sale.

Newcastle have instructed lawyers in their dispute with the Premier League, and Downie insists the story will run for a while.

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Also in the Regional Review, Sky Sports News' north-east reporter Downie explains why the vibe among Newcastle fans may not match the points tally, and why Allan Saint-Maximin is now a much happier man.

'Takeover story will be around for a while'

PCP Partners are in advanced talks with Mike Ashley
Image: Newcastle criticised the Premier League after it rejected Amanda Staveley's Saudi-backed takeover of the club

"I don't think it's going to go away anywhere soon. Obviously Mike Ashley has come out and said he's unhappy with the process, and has brought into question how the Premier League has gone about things.

"He's hired Nick De Marco from Blackstone chambers, one of the leading sports barristers in the world. He's represented a lot of English clubs, including Man City in their case with CAS on their European ban.

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"It sounds as though Ashley will leave no stone unturned, and will spend what is required to go up against the Premier League to see if he can get this aborted takeover.

"The most important thing in all of this is Ashley needs to ensure that the Saudi part of the consortium still want to buy the club.

"You can only assume that Ashley has had guidance from the Saudi part of the consortium, has done his homework, and had assurances that they'd still buy the club. These things can go on for a while, sometimes months, sometimes a year, with this current climate, maybe even longer.

"We went through so much last year to get to where we started. I think it will be around for a while."

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'Points tally doesn't match feeling'

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce in jocular mood
Image: Newcastle's points tally does not necessarily match the mood of fans on Tyneside

"If you spoke to most Newcastle United supporters right now, I don't think they would describe it as an early season run of form.

"I think it's fair to say the majority of them are a little bit frustrated at the start. Yes they're content with the points on the table - seven from a possible 15 is fairly solid start - but I don't think they're quite as happy with the product they are seeing.

"They're in the last eight of the Carabao Cup, and they've got a chance. In fairness to Steve Bruce, he has come in and picked strong teams. And that is something that could not have been levelled by Rafa Benitez or Alan Pardew. Steve Bruce has said it's one of his aims to bring silverware to the club, and he has picked strong teams.

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Highlights from Manchester United's win over Newcastle in the Premier League

"From the outside looking in, I think most people would see Steve Bruce should be given credit, but it's a difficult situation at Newcastle at the moment. I think Bruce wasn't really favoured by supporters at the start, so they're kind of looking for a stick to hit him with.

"If you're asking me I think the manager has stabilised it, but I think at present it really needs to step on and things have plateaued a bit."

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'Saint-Maximin now a happy man'

Image: Allan Saint-Maximin was handed a new six-year deal last week

"He is their best player. He's an unbelievable talent. I think the reason he previously hasn't had a move to one of the big, big clubs, was his lack of end product. He's started to bring that in to Newcastle.

"It's key to point out here that Saint-Maximin arrived last summer on a six-year deal anyway, so it's essentially a year added on, to give him a pay rise and bring him in line with the other earners at the club.

"I think it's fair to say he's been a little bit unhappy behind the scenes, that his wages have probably been half of the club's highest earners. He knows he's the best player, the supporters do, his team-mates do.

"He scored a goal in training last week that had the rest of the squad standing and applauding, it was apparently that unbelievable. He can win games on his own.

"I think the key thing here is that he is now 100 per cent happy at Newcastle - he wanted that pay rise to bring him in line with others, and you can see by his social media output how happy he is."

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