Newcastle Transfer Centre takeover Q&A - Keith Downie answers your questions
Mike Ashley, Amanda Staveley, Steve Bruce, Rafa Benitez questions all answered by SSN's Keith Downie
By Keith Downie - Sky Sports News' North East reporter
Last Updated: 17/04/20 10:22am
What will happen to Steve Bruce once the Newcastle takeover is complete? Our man in the North East answers your questions...
Sky Sports News' Keith Downie joined us for a Transfer Centre takeover on Thursday evening, answering your Newcastle questions on what happens next with the club's prospective takeover...
- Newcastle takeover: Saudi links unlikely to hold up deal
- Souness: Every Newcastle fan will welcome Ashley exit
Providing everything goes smoothly, how long do you think it will be before it will be confirmed and do you expect to see some form of announcement soon? @nufcnathan_1995 (Twitter)
Has it gone past the point where Mike Ashley can pull out of the deal? @Pigott93 (Twitter)
Keith Downie: No. He can pull out of the deal until it is complete. The club is still his until the Premier League give their approval for the takeover to take place, and additionally until the full financial transaction has taken place.
What looks to have been signed so far in the documents with Companies House is dependent on the deal being given the thumbs up by the Premier League.
But it will have cost Ashley time and money to get to this stage so he hasn't got here without being serious about it. He is, and always has been, a willing seller. He just wanted to know the would-be owners could afford it first.
I must admit the timing does seem strange though, and it wouldn't surprise me if he has made the decision to sell to protect his other business interests in these difficult times.
What are the long-term plans for the new prospective owners at Newcastle? @shxlvey (Twitter)
KD: The only steer we have had is that they plan to make significant investment to the club as a whole, so you can expect to see them make moves in the transfer market.
We are told that money has been set aside to spend in the upcoming windows, but I don't think we are going to see them suddenly spend hundreds of millions solely on transfers.
Financial Fair Play wouldn't allow it, anyway. But they want to make an impact, and they want to make Newcastle United a force once again.
It will be very difficult for them to break into that top four straight away, but certainly in the short term you can expect to see them begin to build the infrastructure of the club and its academy, and get the team challenging in the top half of the table.
In terms of the longer term, I'll be sure to ask that question if and when they hold a press conference.
Is Amanda Staveley going to be around running the club in the long term? @ajbnufc (Twitter)
KD: Amanda Staveley has always wanted to be at the forefront of a club, ever since she brokered the Man City takeover 12 years ago.
She has in the past looked into fronting a bid for Liverpool, but it's Newcastle she has set her sights on these past three years. Staveley is almost certain to be the public face of the new board, with the Saudi involvement expected to be a lot less hands on.
However PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan is expected to become chairman. Staveley is very busy with her other business interests so in the longer term she is unlikely to be around on a day-to-day basis.
You can however expect a new managing director to come in, and perhaps even a director of football working alongside the head coach.
Do the new owners have a background in running a professional sports club? @lewisreay14 (Twitter)
KD: The only one who has any experience working within a club is Jamie Reuben, who is a son of one of the Reuben brothers (expected to take a 10 per cent stake) and has been working on the board at QPR.
Although Staveley helped broker the takeover of Manchester City 12 years ago, this is the first time she will be involved at the coalface.
The Saudi Arabian PIF has wealth and assets off the radar, but this will be the first time they have branched out to football club ownership.
The sovereign wealth fund has hosted sporting events such as Anthony Joshua's world title fight against Andy Ruiz Jnr in the Diriyah Arena, and also announced plans for a new F1 track that will host a Grand Prix in 2023.
But by investing in a specific club the Saudis are following the lead set by other Middle East nations such as UAE (Man City) and Qatar (PSG). However Amnesty International have criticised the Saudis for attempting to use sport to improve its image and detract from their human rights record.
How long is the process of checking the potential owners and do you think all parties will pass it? @nufcfootballl (Twitter)
KD: The paperwork has been lodged with the league's governing body and the guidance is that it can take as little as three weeks for a new Owner to pass the Premier League Owners and Directors test.
But in general, the bigger process will usually have been going on for a while before the mandatory tests begin to be carried out. The whole process - and not the test - usually takes months.
So I suppose it all depends on how organised the buyer's side are, and what effect the current lockdown will have on movements.
The Premier League usually ensure they speak face-to-face with everyone who is set to take up a place on the new board, but that will have to be done remotely due to the country being in lockdown.
It's also worth keeping an eye out for QPR director Jamie Rueben stepping down - he is expected to take a place on the St James' Park board and can't hold two positions.
As to whether all parties will pass the test, well that's the million-dollar question... but Staveley and co. are confident.
When can we expect to see a statement from the club or the Premier League? @HattrickASM (Twitter)
KD: I don't think Newcastle or Mike Ashley will comment until the Premier League have ratified the deal, that's generally his way of working.
I would also expect this to be in tandem with the other organisations involved. However, the would-be owners are clearly desperate to get a deal done and they may beat him to the chase.
There has certainly been a lot of noises coming out of the buyer's side since this whole process began.
The Premier League usually leave such things to the clubs.
Do you think the new owners will send out a statement of intent in the next window similar to Man City when then signed Robinho, or gradually phase in signings they can develop? @Cheetz88 (Twitter)
What will happen to Bruce once the takeover is complete? If he goes, will it be straight away? @ToonIrish (Twitter)
KD: It will be harsh on Steve Bruce, who has done a solid job given the circumstances in which he arrived last summer, but it's pretty clear that the new owners would want their own man in charge to start a new chapter at the club.
Bruce will know that himself.
Much of this will depend on what happens with the remainder of the season and how quickly they can complete the takeover, but you'd have to think the new owners will want to make changes fairly quickly.
If this does happen, Bruce can leave with his head held high as he's managed a tricky situation well.
Given how much Staveley wanted Benitez to be the manager in 2017/18, do you think likely they will make an approach for him to return? @Ollie_Ranken (Twitter)
How much needs to be spent to rebuild Newcastle? @ja3k_m3_123 (Instagram)
Who has been the most underrated transfer for Newcastle under Ashley? @jake_fudge_ (Instagram)
KD: In the last few years, I would say Fede Fernandez.
He was brought in on Deadline Day two years ago and quietly goes about his business quietly in the background. Never complains when he is left out, and is a brilliant defender whenever he plays.
He's scored important goals this season, and don't forget the role he has played to help Miguel Almiron settle in the North East.
Ciaran Clark is up there too as one of the most underrated defenders in the Premier League.
Do you think the new owners will look to improve the training facilities? @joe.ribson_ (Instagram)
With the added investment, will Newcastle actually be able to attract top players? @joe.reynolds (Instagram)
In what way are the Reuben brothers involved in the takeover? @domwnn (Instagram)
KD: The Reuben brothers are one part of one of the wealthiest families in the country, and according to The Sunday Times Rich List are worth an eye-watering £18.5bn.
Jamie Reuben is the son of David, and is expected to take up a seat on the Newcastle United board once he severs ties with QPR.
Together the Reubens will own 10 per cent of the club, with Staveley having a similar chunk and the Saudis the rest. Expect Jamie to be involved on a day-to-day basis.