I’m sure we’re all the same, hoovering up every bit of news going, obsessively checking news channels, being there but elsewhere when discussing domestic chores and having long, meandering phone calls with pals about where we think things are at and all the rest of it.

One thing is for certain, there is no one person who knows everything about what is going on. That probably includes within the three parties – buyers, sellers and the PL.  Over this last month there have been leaks all over the joint from the Premier League and those around the buyers and there has been no doubt Ashley’s side has been briefing journalists too. Each party has its own purpose and to greater or lesser degrees those in the media accept what they are told and don’t adequately appraise why they are being given this apparent information. Some might even still be speaking with Lee Charnley on a regular basis – as if he has a scooby what’s happening.

I’ll start with Wednesday night. John Richardson of The Mirror, an old school hack, announced the deal had been completed and an announcement was imminent. As one sage associate of mine immediately queried in his admirably sceptical manner – define imminent. He’s right, you can’t time the Microwave with an “imminent” setting.

Less than 12 hours later, Martin Hardy of The Times claimed the PL’s Owners & Directors hadn’t been completed and there were representations to the PL from Premier League clubs unhappy about the prospective new owners of United. Craig Hope of The Mail’s piece largely echoed that, pouring cold water on the completion of checks and pushing potential confirmation until next week. Hardy’s piece about PL clubs being perturbed by the new would-be owners of United chimed with what had been reported over a week earlier in The Mirror. If Martin is right and there is to be a consultation with the PL clubs about United’s takeover then that is new ground for these checks. It also suggests the constant repetition of “no red flags” is inaccurate, that there are points of concern and the PL wants to share responsibility and possibly liability by putting concerns with what they have found to clubs. This would be a first to my knowledge. It would be very troubling.

There probably isn’t anyone in the media closer to the buying side than George Caulkin, The Athletic. I do follow George’s updates with a greater interest than many others, though I’m mindful his information might be one dimensional. I mean that as no offence. George yesterday dialed down the growing expectation the takeover was imminent. As we know, it hasn’t happened as yet.

On two occasions, I’ve expected the confirmation to be made. On neither it has happened.

I doubt I’ll go looking across social media for answers because it is variously offering a home to bull-shitters, fantasists and those who appear to have a deluded sense of their own importance. I don’t doubt there are others working for their own self interest too and placing that above the interests of Newcastle United.

I smiled at Steve Bruce’s first press interview in months. I smiled not because he was pitching to keep his job on the basis of being an effective operator in the division below the one he is currently employed in. No, I smiled because he revealed neither he nor any of the players have any idea about what is going on with the takeover.

Interestingly he claimed those in the press may have more of an idea about that than him. That speaks volumes about Ashley’s regime at Stalag St James’.

That might have come as a surprise to those who have taken seriously those on social media who had been giving it the biggun that the players had already been briefed the takeover was a done deal. That was obviously bullshit. Not that level of bollocks is limited to keyboard dreamers of course. Former United left-back Olivier Bernard allowed us a glimpse into the unicorns living inside his head with a prediction confirmation of the takeover was going to be made …. oh days ago.

For the first time in my life I read the Middle Eastern version of Forbes yesterday. Forbes is meant to be posh so ergo its accurate. That goes on the logic. There’s a current sitting PM who rather unpicks that theory but there you go.

I read the piece and thought … this is so full of holes but also if I’m reading this article about the Newcastle United takeover and it hasn’t been picked up by the mainstream media already, then its probably shite. Turns out it was shite. So were the links to the change in ownership at Sheffield United being Newcastle United-related despite some claiming it was. It wasn’t.

Against that background on Wednesday and Thursday came a piece in The S*n (my apologies) from Neil Custis (no-one does a Scenty Bottle better, not even Steve Bruce) claiming emphatically the Owners & Directors test had been passed and all that remained outstanding was weighing Ashley in with his ill-gotten and that was that. Custis has claimed an official announcement will be made on or around 1/Jun/20. Key words here … on or around. No-one is putting their cock on the block.

Naturally, other parts of the media are cutting and pasting this article now and it is growing legs. It is debatable if it came from Custis originally despite it being flagged as an Exclusive. The S*n eh? What they like eh?

Perhaps by coincidence, PL clubs are meeting to discuss Project Restart today. I wonder if there has been a whip-round for Lee Charnley, who I hope is attending one of these gatherings for the last time, having a glass of Blue Nun giving him a barely signed Sorry You’re Leaving Card and having a bit of a gossip about him and his er, (cough) … you know … while he stares silently into the middle distance. Is that a tear in your eye Lee? Insert smiley faced emoji here.

It has been a proposition put forward by some that the PL has lacked the bandwidth to manage the COVID-19 crisis and conduct a complex set of checks around the PL Owners & Directors Test. I suppose that makes some sense but there is zero doubt in my mind the PL has done everything it can to derail or delay the takeover and that has been a gift to others (Qataris) who I suspect may behind other choreographed opposition to the United takeover. The longer it has dragged on the greater has been the opportunity for some to be attracted to the media interest as a means to get 5 minutes of fame as we saw last week from some weird and unpleasant Tory MPs.

Right at the start of this whole saga, a wizened, gnarled, curmudgeonly Mag of my acquaintance wisely counselled he wouldn’t believe it until he saw camels parked on Barrack Road and yer man Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman doing keepie ups at the Gallowgate End in full Saudi regalia.

I think I agree with him now.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

MICHAEL MARTIN