Club Focus – Newcastle United – Takeover still talk of the Toon

Newcastle United just came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Huddersfield Town in their mid-week Carling Cup tie. The sides produced arguably the best game of the second round as the Magpies rallied after trailing 3-1 to their League One opponents. Not for the first time this season Newcastle responded from a difficult situation and managed to turn around a game that last season would no doubt have been beyond them. How high the Carling Cup is on their list of priorities is debatable, but wins are always important at this stage of the season to increase confidence in the dressing room.

Newcastle used the match to rest some of their key players and give a chance to some of their younger players on the fringes of the first team. There were first starts for defender Tamas Kadar, winger Kazenga Lua-Lua (brother of Lomana) and striker Nile Ranger. There was also a rare start for second-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul and seemingly forgotten man Geremi. There was also a late cameo for the highly rated young Slovenian Haris Vuckic. Newcastle’s defence looked shaky all game with Danny Simpson, normally a full-back, partnering Kadar in central defence. After going three games without conceding Steven Taylor’s absence from the team was glaringly apparent. He is one player who Newcastle cannot afford to lose at the end of the transfer window. On the whole, Newcastle’s young players enjoyed steady games but never really managed to make a telling contribution. That was mainly left to senior players such as Shola Ameobi, Danny Guthrie and Kevin Nolan who helped claw the Magpies back from the brink.

Mike Ashley’s continued attempts to sell Newcastle United took a fresh twist this week with the news that another local businessman, Geoff Sheard, is interested in buying the club. Although Sheard is believed to be spearheading a group to take over Newcastle he does not have the funds needed to run it himself. Instead, the deal is thought to be backed by an American consortium which is interested in making the Magpies a global brand. Sheard is acting as a deal-maker between Seymour Pierce and the American consortium. Newcastle’s Managing Director Derek Llambias confirmed that talks were taking place between the two parties. He said: “Geoff is dealing with Keith Harris, from Seymour Pierce, and we are still waiting for proof of funds.”

It is not the first time that Sheard has attempted to buy a football club. Last year he was in talks to purchase fellow Championship side Sheffield Wednesday but was unable to come up with the funds. This time around he has backing from overseas, apparently a New York based company. Sheard told the Newcastle Chronicle: “It is not me buying the club – that should be made very clear. I have put together a package for a group who want to come in and take over the club. That is what they want to do given the opportunity. Talks have been going on for a couple of weeks now.”

The Americans are reputed to be planning on re-branding the Magpies on a global scale to increase the club’s worldwide appeal. They also want to improve relations between the fans and the club, which is currently at an all-time low. Barry Moat is still hoping to finance a deal to purchase the club and there is also believed to be one other group interested in buying Newcastle. Next week we should know once and for all what the future holds. The closure of the transfer window on the September 1 could be very hectic for everyone involved with Newcastle United.

One transfer that has been mooted is the return of Kevin Nolan to Bolton Wanderers. Under-pressure manager Gary Megson has confirmed that he is interested in bringing the midfielder back to his old stomping ground, possibly in a loan deal. Nolan has won over many of his doubters this season with vastly improved performances in a more advanced midfield position. Chris Hughton would be unwilling to lose a key player, especially if it was just on loan. Newcastle faces Leicester City in the league on Monday night. Shola Ameobi and Jonas Gutierrez both limped out of the Huddersfield game and could both be injury doubts.

Newcastle United Club Focus

Pre-season woe – July 29
Fans say goodbye to a hero – August 5
Bridge over troubled water? – August 12
Local boy steps up – August 18
Home-grown strike partnership takes effect – August 21
Geordie resurgence gains momentum – August 25
Takeover still talk of the Toon – August 28

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