Where’s Meghan when you need her?…

I work in the steel industry – so please understand that I am in no way attempting to be a ‘learned friend’ when casting your eyes over the next few hundred words.

If you want the view of someone who is actually a ‘learned friend’and is therefore far better qualified to offer an expert opinion on yesterday’s event’s, I advise you to stop reading now, and instead head over to YouTube and digest @yousef_1892 thoughts on the matter HERE

Let me put it out there now…I want this takeover. I want this takeover because I want my son, his sons, and his sons sons to have a Newcastle United they can be proud of.

That’s probably the reason I booked a meeting room containing an extra-large screen for the day under the guise of having multiple online calls with architects and customers (please don’t share this with my gaffer), and I probably managed to take in 5 of the 6 or so hours of the case; the endless references to past CAT cases, participants repeatedly forgetting to unmute themselves (we all do it) and intently watching the PL QC for any sort of reaction.

My overwhelming takeaway? Yesterday was a ruse.

A Mike Ashley orchestrated ruse, attended by 6 men, none of whom were there for the love of the game of football or indeed to protect the best interests of Newcastle United, butinstead were there because they are being paid handsomely by their respective clients and or employers.

Theruse has one goal, and one goal only – Mike Ashley is attempting to get his hands on the maximum Newcastle United shaped ‘pound of flesh’ he can.

In the mind of Mike Ashley, that ‘pound of flesh‘ can comes in either of two forms;

  1. Compensation for his losses as a result of the Premier Leagues delay tactics – to the tune of £10m according to Ashley’s representative, Daniel Jowell QC.
  2. A £350m jackpot the chances of which Ashley believes are significantly  increased as a result of any pressure exerted on the Premier League via a public Anti Competition case.

This is all about Mike Ashley feathering his already extremely plump nest…its always about Mike Ashley feathering his extremely plump nest.

That being said, the tribunal did deliversome key pieces of information that we had not been privy to before yesterday – the most important of which was confirmation that the much-anticipated arbitration hearing will start on 4th January (yes, I know they said 3rd Jan, but trust me when I say they aren’t starting it on a Bank Holiday).

Then there were the regular references to a certain ‘Mr Barnes’ that clearly demonstrated just who is really running the Barrack Road show (what the point of a Lee Charnley is, is anyone’s guess?), which also begs the question, has Mikes golden boy Justin been subjected to the Owners and Directors test?…

Other notable moments in what must have been the most boring episode of ‘Suits’ ever broadcast included the Premier League QC Adam Lewis suggesting that the case should be granted a stay (delay) because the notoriously skint Premier League don’t have enough legal resource – a claim that was actually laughed at by the Judge, the Right Honourable Justice Miles.

But perhaps the most astonishing revelation of the day, was when it was revealed that The Premier League had threatened to expel Newcastle United from their competition because St James Holdings Ltd (the parent company of Newcastle United Ltd) had not signed up to the same Premier League rules as Newcastle United Ltd – both of which are owned by the same man…you don’t need me to tell you who that may be.

A threat of expulsion on the grounds of a technicality from the very organisation that saw a number of its members to threaten its very existence only a few months ago, and then promptly allowed the pesky culprits to choose their own punishment!!!

And some still claim independent regulatory governance in football isn’t needed?

So then; we have a date, we have clarity on the business structure at Newcastle United, we have the PL attempting to plead poverty and we have confirmation that the Premier League couldn’t run a bath.

What we need now is to win football matches.

After all, that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

Return to Bleak House 

And so the case of Jaundice and Jaundice – can there ever have been two less likeable litigants than Mike Ashley and the Premier League? – had its brief day in the sun, and the Twittersphere was gripped. The lawyers presented their arguments and dutifully cited legal precedent while the virtual courtroom audience found grounds for optimism simply because finally something seemed to be happening. But as anyone who’s read their Dickens will know, signs of progress can be an illusion, and anyone who invests hope in a resolution will end up tormented by their imprudence, just another broken fool in the misery wrought by a case without end.

We have known for 18 months that separation between PIF and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the intractable problem in this particular case. All parties have known that, buyers and sellers, and yet they have not resolved it, nor even tried to provided the evidence asked of them to do so. And so the public repetition of that point and its deferral to 3 January hardly constitutes the breakthrough claimed by the latter-day Richard Carstones of #nufctakeover #plcorruption. Resolving that point has always lain in the hands of the buyers who have never taken that step. And so the hope continues, endlessly deferred, never realised, and yet never extinguished.

Meanwhile, the only other interest lies in establishing just which is the most outrageous irony in what has developed into an irony contest of positively Olympian proportions. The Premier League threatening our exclusion in the interests of the “big six” while doing nothing to punish those same six ESL clubs that sought to betray it?

Maybe, but what about the supporters held in such contempt by their billionaire owner acting as cheerleaders for his entirely self-interested pursuit of further financial gain? Or the calls for transparency on behalf of a club that has never felt under any obligation to provide any openness to its own paying fans? Or, better still, how about accusations against an immoral and corrupt cartel made only so that our own club can participate in that same immorality and corruption on behalf of a regime that stands outside any recognisable standards of morality.

Whatever the faults of the current owner – and there are many – he has so far stopped short of luring critical journalists into their local branch of Sports Direct only to be dismembered and their body parts smuggled out in a suitcase.

Bleak indeed.

Matthew Philpotts@mjp19731