Mike Ashley’s asking price for Newcastle United could prove to be a “big problem” for any prospective buyer, according to Chronicle journalist Mark Douglas.
It is well-known that the controversial businessman is demanding a fee of £350 million to part with the Toon Army, but Douglas has suggested that he may need to lower his expectations.
Writing in a Q&A for the Chronicle (15.59), he said: “Well the club’s up for sale still. But there’s a difference between being up for sale and actively courting a buyer – and the big problem for anyone looking at the club is the asking price.
“While there’s still interest, I would think anyone studying the club closely will come to the same conclusion.
“I would, however, expect to hear a few more stories about this in the run up to January (the next so-called takeover window). I wouldn’t blame Newcastle fans if they approached any talk with extreme caution.”
This seems fairly on the nose from Douglas. That £350 million seems like a lot, largely because it is, but when it’s viewed within the context of what a buyer would actually be taking on on Tyneside, it’s easy to see how steep it actually is. The Toon Army are by no means the finished article, and on top of that initial fee, it is highly likely that a new owner would have to invest heavily in the training ground and infrastructure of the club, as well as any usual costs that would be associated with life in the Premier League, such as exorbitant transfer fees. Even in that respect they would have to make up for years of Ashley’s relative negligence, and it’s not unfair to assume that a buyer would have to invest a substantial sum of money to get the club up to the kind of standard that it should rightfully be at. Ashley is damaging any hopes of a sale by being so stubborn in his valuation.