I’ve been pretty vocal this week about why I believe the consortium should have let Bruce go at the beginning of this week.  The reasoning is pretty simple, he loses football matches and we need to start winning them quickly.   What I keep being told is that “they know what they are doing” and to “trust them”.  Really?

Firstly I wanted to address the “They know what they are doing” argument.  None of them know what they are doing.  They have as much experience as I do about running a football club.  And before you say “Jamie Ruben was at QPR”; well, I worked at a football club and worked in football for over 20 year – doesn’t mean I could run Premier League football club so that argument doesn’t stack up I’m afraid.

It is clear that the speed that the takeover went through has surprised everyone, including the consortium.  However, over the past couple of years we’ve been told that they have a plan in place that was ready to go.  We’ve been told how much money they are going to invest in the North East etc etc etc.  I will accept that this went through quickly, however they have known for some time that the conclusion was going to be in early January, that’s only 12 weeks away.  It’s unlikely many DoF are likely to become available in that time, and any mangers who suddenly become available in that period are likely to have been doing badly somewhere else so would be unlikely to be on short list – that we are told exists by the media.

It is entirely possible that there are three shortlists, one for each member of the consortium.   If we think back to when the story first broke about the takeover there have always been three very separate entities within the consortium.  They have always released individual statements to the media, none more telling when PIF announced they were pulling out.  There was no joint statement.  This concerns me as I would much prefer a ‘united’ front.  The last thing we need are internal politics and power struggles within the club, plus added complications and sign off processes when it comes to decisions that need to be made quickly – something we have battered Ashley and Charnley for doing over the years.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination suggesting that three parties want to make the club a success and of course we need patience – but we also need competence, and quickly as let’s not forget that we are 19th in the league, and we have not won a game of football this season.   There is one reason for that, and he will be in the dugout on Sunday.  That is a mistake in my opinion.

The second comment that I have had thrust at me this week is “Trust them”.  Firstly, of course I don’t trust them.  They have demonstrated nothing to me that suggests I should trust them.  But then I wouldn’t trust anyone with the football club, we’ve been here too many times in our history.

Also, when using the word ‘trust’ we would be foolish not to look at them as individuals and analyse what they have done outside football to garner trust.  Look, we all know about the Saudi State, and MBS and if you don’t then educate yourself.  Remember, we are talking about trust here and not the rights and wrongs of the club being sold – look beyond the sale and the money and ask yourself if you would honestly trust MBS?

Secondly The Rueben family.  We know they are property developers, very wealthy ones.  Very wealthy, so it’s no surprise that they donate a lot of money to the Conservative Party.  Nothing wrong with that everyone is entitled to their own political views.  Since 2017 the family have donated over £2.5m to the Tories.  What is significant about 2017 if that the Grenfell disaster happened in 2017.  It was reported last year that post Grenfell ‘property tycoons’ donated over £11m to the Tories.   To be clear, the Rueben’s did not own or build the property that went up in flames, however they do have a number of buildings that have the same or similar cladding and it has been reported that they have been billing lease holders for the removal of the deadly cladding from their buildings https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/leaseholders-in-london-block-pay-nearly-35m-for-grenfell-style-cladding-removal-61262.  I am not saying that there is a connection between the donations and stories such as this, I’ll leave you to make your own conclusions.

Look, I’m delighted that Ashley has gone.  I’m absolutely buzzing that our football club and team could be transformed over the next few years.  As I wrote a few days ago, we have hope returning to St James’ Park and that feels fantastic.   But before anyone starts using the word ‘trust’ about our new owners just remember that trust needs to be earned and they have been here 5 minutes.  All I have to work with is what I know about them, so I make no apologies in saying that they haven’t earned mine yet.

TIM WOOD