There has been no new information about the much-discussed take-over over the last couple of days but there has been loads of related comment, not much of it worth pointing you in the direction of unless you want to read juvenile stuff about who United could buy written without any reference to availability or the budget.

As is to be expected United have continued along the No Comment line even whilst Lee Charnley briefs journalists off-the-record with not very much gen at all. I’m not sure how much the Tea-Boy knows any way and why would a bag-carrier be kept in the loop? He can barely run a bath. The deal to sell Newcastle United will not be done in NE1 that’s for sure and it won’t involve an over-promoted Reserve Team Secretary either.

There may have been No Comment from United officially but Ashley has let it be known he is waiting for a formal offer or bid for the club. The Bin Zayed Group (BZG) has made an explicit statement that Due Diligence has been completed, terms have been agreed have been made and proof of funds was provided back on the 17/Apr/19. The Premier League has been notified though there is uncertainty about what exactly that means in terms of completing Fit and Proper Persons test etc.

None of that has been refuted by anyone at United – but it would appear the next move to be initiated is a formal bid to buy the club. You might ask why it hasn’t been made and why we just can’t get on with it and queue up to rip down those fucking awful red and blue signs.

Here’s an entirely speculative set of theories for what they are worth.

Throughout this whole takeover frenzy, the journalists worth reading have referred to other interested parties who might be in for the club. Indeed, no-one it seems has bothered to check with Amanda Staveley and her PCP group whether their interest in buying United is continuing. Could PCP be another of the parties sniffing? There has been reference to an interested Mexican cartel (I know, I know).

If Ashley gets an offer for United of 350 millions he then has something concrete to use to test alternatives to BZG and get a better price and thus more money for himself. Let’s be honest, when United have sold players he has always achieved top dollar with the exception of Yohan Cabaye which was the responsibility of Joe Kinnear and led to his dismissal. Go back to the eye-watering fee Ashley squeezed out of Liverpool for Andy Carroll and Spurs for Moussa Sissoko – not many in the football world didn’t believe both attracted fees for players way over their value. But it doesn’t stop there. Mitrovich was a divisive player at United and unwanted by the manager. He was sold at a significant profit and we were far from distressed sellers when after relegation we sold Wiljandum and Janmaat to Liverpool and Watford respectively at a big profit. Debuchy’s sale to Arsenal is another example.

For all of Ashley’s failures in providing responsible stewardship, love and respect for Newcastle United, few can argue he can’t sell players on at times, on financially very good terms. No-one gets Mike Ashley over a barrel and pulls his pants down over deals either at United or it would appear in his business activities. I sincerely apologise for planting the image of Mike Ashley’s bare arse showing over a barrel in anyone’s head by the way.

No-one can dispute Mike Ashley is not a deal-maker par-excellence. He will be working to get the absolute maximum price he can for any sale of Newcastle United.

What Ashley needs now is a firm offer for United with which he can start a bidding war between BZG and anyone else who has been into the United Data Room, completed Due Diligence and remains interested. You might ask what has been going on between the 17th of April 2019 when Proof of Funds were first provided to United by BZG and the news broken on Sunday night gone of the existence of the attempted takeover. Similarly, you might wonder at such a critical stage for United, Ashley disappears off the radar – critical for the takeover but also for Rafa’s future. It’s irresponsible bordering upon reckless. None of it however is surprising.

I don’t think there is any one of us who doesn’t think Mike Ashley will be acting in anyone’s interests other than his own.

Another point to be considered is the latest wedge of TV money to be deposited into the Newcastle United bank account. We know last year Ashley, contrary to the nonsense about every penny generated going to Rafa baloney, Ashley had off with 33 millions at least. There is every chance Ashley will do exactly the same this year, reducing the debt the club has to him and thus allowing more of the fee paid for United to go down the arse pocket of his very, very flared bad jeans.

This is all about Mike Ashley and how much money he stands to make in my humble opinion. Apologies for stating the bleedin’ obvious.

We all know Ashley is a gambler – it has characterised his tenure at United when he has speculated on how little he needs to spend at SJP to stay in the Premier League but he is also a creature of casinos and high-stakes betting. It appeals to his degenerate, sociopathic character.

But what he is gambling on now (as he has done previously) is the future of Newcastle United. As has been repeated ad-nauseum at the end of this month, Rafa Benitez will be out of contract. Benitez is more than a highly-skilled elite coach, he has reconnected a fractious, at times demented and splintered support with a team which performs to the peak of its abilities and respects the club and the people in the stands. Even under the much-loved Sir Bobby Robson, we didn’t always have that. What’s more, Rafa Benitez wants to be here, recognises like us, the massive potential of Newcastle United and wants to be the man to unlock it and take us forward. In truth though, even after three years of Rafa at SJP, the club is no further forward than the season he took over. That’s not to underplay his achievements which are enormous but United was an under-funded outfit, struggling to stay in the PL when he came here in 2016 and that’s exactly what we remain and will continue to be at best whilst Ashley stays in control.

Right now, Newcastle United is all over the place. We can’t settle the futures of several players all of whom have been spoken of as potentially leaving the club – Shelvey, Perez, Hayden, Diame, Ritchie, Joselu and Rondon. There remains interest in Schar and Longstaff. United cannot seriously start talking to transfer targets because quite simply no agent worth their salt would allow their client to join a club with so much instability.

Should this situation continue beyond the next few weeks then Newcastle United is once again sleep-walking into a catastrophe and those ridiculous articles in the football media about signing stellar players and upsetting the status quo of the top six will appear sick rather than silly.