“The parties attended a hearing today in the case between Newcastle United and the Premier League. The main hearing of the arbitration has regrettably now been adjourned until early 2022 due to issues with the disclosure of evidence. The parties will be making no further comment at this time” – Newcastle United.

 

So, here we are then. Absolutely, no further forward! It would appear that right at the start of the opening proceedings of the arbitration between Newcastle United and the Premier League the whole thing has had the pause button pressed on it due to a show-stopper about disclosure of evidence. Fucking, fucking hell!

The whole thing has now been kicked into early 2022 and what happens after that? No-one knows. This could go on for years with no outcome. Will the Saudis stick around that long? Are they really still there? No-one knows because the Saudis never speak to anyone.

What implication does this have for the CAT litigation? We’ll have to work that out in slower time.

No wonder Rafa offered such a flat explanation of why he’s now at Everton and not being gilded in Middle East gold on Barrack Road. He waited, nothing happened, he moved on. There are people with the best interests of Newcastle United at heart (rather than their own) who rather think the same.

There is no detail about which side is where on all of this palaver but I don’t suppose that will stop the usual wild-eyed, frothing mouthed conspiracy theories based on gut instincts, bunions, over-active imaginations and things that go bump in the night, from opining into the ether. Copper-bands for rheumatism? Sign me up.

All of the talk in the press from Ashley telling Staveley to have their money ready and be ready to go was nonsense. Nonsense on stilts!

Staveley boldly talking about welcoming supporters back into SJP in the new season is now to be filed under 2020’s “No Red Flags” rubbish.

Where have we been in the last few weeks to arrive at this crushing disappointment?

The Rt. Hon Oliver Down, Sec of State for DCMS was petitioned by supporters and others to call up the Premier League to make the arbitration proceedings public or transparent. Dowden offered a mealy mouthed response to that but he has currently no powers to instruct the Premier League to do anything it doesn’t want to.

The Rt. Hon Tracey Crouch MP, chair of the Fan Led review into football governance was called out in public by Amanda Staveley to intervene. That is neither within her role or her powers.

Utterly pointless actions, which any sentient person knew from the get-go!

Did anyone think to ask what Newcastle United had done to make that happen within the formal governance of the Premier League? Namely, garner support from other Premier League clubs to force Masters to go public? Yes, United made a big hullaballoo in the media, but did they make any steps to actually do something real?

Not that has ended up being important.

We don’t know why the arbitration has shuddered to the halt it has. We can only say that one of TF’s legally qualified writers, Yousef Hatem warned us this might happen.

People would do well to listen to the people who talk with quiet, professional authority rather than attention-seeking loud-mouths spinning yarns about people pulling strings in the background, agendas, being in the pocket of mysterious manipulators and all kinds of other far-fetched drivel.

The reality is this takeover is not happening any time soon. Some detected a note of desperation in Staveley’s media manoeuvrings last week. That may be unfair. Her confidence was all she had to provide last week. It has again, proven misplaced. I have to say, her husband’s appearances on social media generate more heat than light. He’d be advised to put his phone away.

Staveley has been trying to buy Newcastle United since 2017 and a PL club a lot longer. That ambition remains horribly unfulfilled.

Where do we go now?

I’d suggest dealing with the situation that confronts us.

Steve Bruce is the unwanted and unloved manager or Head Coach or Ashley’s useful idiot at Newcastle United.

He is currently preparing a squad for the new season without a single new signing or without the combined forces of Graham Jones’ coaching and Joe Willock’s precocious talents.

There is credible information that there will be less than £10m to spend on new players. We note the wage-bill for players has been reduced from the level it already was – amongst the lowest in the PL.

Bruce’s side lost their first pre-season game of the season to York and Ashley’s dupe trotted out the line results don’t really matter at the moment. That tune will change if we beat Doncaster and it’ll be winning is a good habit etc. Off the shelf clichés from a Muppet manager!

The fact of the matter is United were dire last season, saved only by a run of results on the back of Willock’s loan, ASM’s spasmodic return from injury and Jones’ coaching.

Newcastle United is sleepwalking into the new season day-dreaming of a Saudi takeover and a golden tomorrow but failing to recognise the potential disaster of relegation right in front of us.

The club has a disaffected, disillusioned and demoralised support. Thousands have chucked it and the talk is of 12,000 season tickets unsold. It could quite easily be more. I’m baffled anyone has the energy any longer to go and indulge Ashley, Barnes, Charnley and Bruce any longer.

Anger left the room a long time ago. In its place is bitterness, recrimination, finger-pointing and some who I don’t think will get to the other shore of this crossing with their mental health intact.

For now, Newcastle United should forget all about fancy takeovers and focus on having a football club fit for the purpose of surviving in the Premier League of 2021/22.

Right now, they look a million miles from that.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

MICHAEL MARTIN