Newcastle United close to £100m takeover
Local millionaire Barry Moat would install Alan Shearer as manager if the deal goes through
Newcastle United, relegated from the Premier League last season, are on the verge of £100m takeover masterminded by local millionaire Barry Moat.
Moat has been in talks with Seymour Pierce, the investment bank charged by current owner Mike Ashley with seeing the sale of the club through. Discussions will continue today, but Moat is expected to put £50m of his own money into the club, while securing a further £50m of private equity or bank investments, some of it from the United States.
Should Moat succeed in his takeover of the club, his friend Alan Shearer is likely to be installed as Newcastle's permanent manager after presiding over the side's relegation to the Championship last season as caretaker. If Ashley isn't able to find a buyer, it is possible that Joe Kinnear will take the helm, though that would be an unpopular choice with fans.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
Paul Kelso, Daily Telegraph: Should [Moat] succeed in pulling off the deal he is likely to be popular with supporters who crave a local owner to take the club forward. Despite clearing most of Newcastle's historic debt when he took over, Ashley's apparent disregard for the club's heritage and the reckless decision-making that contributed to relegation have won him only enemies on Tyneside.
Scott Rutherford, the Times: Should Ashley reject the offer, he intends to retain possession of the club for at least another season and is prepared to pump in a further £40m to cover wages and other costs. Such a scenario would be greeted with horror by supporters, who were confronted yesterday by claims from Joe Kinnear, the former manager, that he had been offered a two-year contract to return to the club after heart surgery.