Newcastle United may be about to embark on a bright new era that promises a return to greatness – but they might have got there sooner had an approach for Sir Alex Ferguson proved successful.
The Toon Army and their supporters must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief following the £300m buyout of Mike Ashley.The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has been listed as the chair of PIF, with his value ranging from £250bn to £320bn. That, in turn, makes Newcastle the richest club in the world
And with money seemingly no object when it comes to strengthening the side, Newcastle will soon become major players in the Premier League.
Since their takeover was confirmed, a whole manner of top stars have been mentioned as targets. Their new director Amanda Staveley has even responded to claims of a move for Kylian Mbappe.
On the coaching side of things, a number of big-name bosses are also being linked. One man who won’t be jumping ship though is a much revered Premier League manager.
The Magpies are also looking for a new director of football and an ally of Jose Mourinho has been heavily linked.
Clearly there’s a lot of guessing work going on as to whom Newcastle could appoint.
Languishing in 19th place and with seemingly no hope of keeping their job, one has to feel for Steve Bruce.
The much-travelled manager has done an admirable job keeping Newcastle in the Premier League with little to no resources.
But it seems he won’t be around for much longer with the new regime clearly looking to a more ambitious appointment.
It all points to a return to the successful days on the mid-1990s when Kevin Keegan enjoyed relative success.
Under the chairmanship of Sir John Hall, he steered the Magpies to within a whisker of the Premier League title in 1996/97.
But when Keegan stepped down that summer, Newcastle made an ambitious move to replace him with Ferguson.
“We needed someone to keep up the momentum when Kevin left in 1997. And the lads felt they had a chance of snatching Alex from Manchester United. He’d already turned the Red Devils around to win plenty of trophies.
“Our former chairman Freddy Shepherd, who has since sadly passed away, revealed what happened a few years after our failed Ferguson coup.
He told me, ‘Martin Edwards, the Manchester United chairman, had obviously got wind of what was going on. He rang me and asked if I had got anything to tell him – like Alex Ferguson? I was on a boat at the time and I almost fell off it’.”
“It would have been great if we had pulled it off and he came to manage Newcastle United. However, we didn’t do too badly. We managed to get Kenny Dalglish instead.”
Newcastle’s next boss won’t be Rodgers
Meanwhile, Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers will reportedly turn down all offers from Newcastle to take over from Steve Bruce.
Bruce is expected to get the boot on Tyneside imminently. Indeed, Staveley was at the club’s training base this week and is understood to have spoken to Bruce.
But PIF are yet to give the green light to axe the 60-year-old ahead of Sunday’s clash with Tottenham.
Rodgers had been tipped as a potential replacement. But he has “no interest” in Newcastle’s project, as per reliable journalist John Percy.