The one prevailing source of hope for the Newcastle United supporters throughout the years of the Mike Ashley tyranny at the helm of the club is that he will one day sell up.
This summer, that wonderful proposition has seemed to be as close as ever, with one particular party sniffing around the Magpies with seemingly great intent.
However, it now appears that the reality of Ashley selling is suddenly as far away as ever. That’s because, in a piece on The Chronicle’s website, reliable journalist Mark Douglas wrote that: “After a summer of speculation about the intentions of the Bin Zayed Group – whose takeover bid is now as good as over – the club is set to remain in Ashley’s hands for a few months longer.”
The phrase ‘as good as over’ will surely send a shiver down the Newcastle supporters’ spines and will probably have them in bits, devoid of any hope that the Sports Direct tycoon will ever leave them in peace.
It’s clear that the north east giants have gone backwards under Ashley’s leadership, there’s no contesting that fact. Prior to his arrival they were top four regulars competing in the Champions League. Since then they have suffered relegation twice and devolved into a vehicle for flogging Sports Direct merchandise.
It’s hard not to sympathise with the Toon Army, a rabid fanbase who continually turn up to games in their tens of thousands despite the distinct lack of ambition shown at board level.
This summer has reached a nadir for the Magpies fans, with a world class manager in Rafael Benitez driven to despair by Ashley, to the point that he had to take a job in China just to get away from him…
Again, the one source of hope was this potential takeover by the BZG, something which is seemingly now dead in the water. And on and on it goes…