Staveley hits back at Newcastle after ‘hurtful’ takeover rumours

Date published: Friday 19th January 2018 8:47 - Oli Fisher

Amanda Staveley

Amanda Staveley has said it is “absurd and hurtful” to suggest her Newcastle takeover bid is not a serious one and insists her offer is still on the table.

United remain up for sale after owner Mike Ashley called a halt to negotiations which had been ongoing with Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners since November.

On Tuesday, sources close to him dismissed those talks as “a complete waste of time”.

But speaking to the Times, Staveley rejected that characterisation of her offer.

“I’m very concerned, I’m very surprised and I’m disappointed about what’s been said this week,” she said.

“The suggestion that we were either wasting time or not serious is absurd. It’s hurtful. Hugely hurtful.”

Press Association Sport understands there had been no contact between the two parties since before Christmas, and that the sportswear magnate had lost patience with both the public nature of the pursuit and a lack of tangible progress.

However, Staveley insisted she remained a genuine bidder.

“I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle. And our bid remains on the table,” she told the newspaper.

“This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also added that manager Rafael Benitez was fundamental to her bid, adding: “Rafa is doing an incredible job. We want Rafa to be part of this project.”

Ashley has let it be known that he will only consider potential buyers who are serious in intent and who can prove it by demonstrating that the finance is in place to do a deal.

He is also determined that any negotiations will be conducted in private, as was the case when he launched his £134.4million takeover back in 2007.

PCP were one of several parties to sign non-disclosure agreements with the club after it was put up for sale in October last year, and some are understood to be monitoring the current situation, although none are anywhere near as advanced in their interest as Staveley’s group.

The Sports Direct tycoon had hoped to secure a sale by Christmas, giving a new owner time to make a mark in the January transfer window, but having failed to do so, now faces the task of funding a limited recruitment drive.

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