Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sharing the love?

With rumours abounding that not one but two investors are considering buying Sir John Hall's shares in the club, presumably with a view to making Fat Fred and/or Dirty Doug an offer for their shares, and taking over control it's difficult to know what to think.

On the one hand, it'll be sad to see Sir John sever his ties, and credit must go to him for the resurgence we enjoyed in the nineties, with Keegan at the helm and glorious football on the pitch. However, his oft stated dream of a team of Geordies never looked like getting off the ground, and his plan to emulate Barcelona with an umbrella of sports clubs under one roof has long since died a death, with the rugby, basketball and ice hockey teams sold off years ago, and Sir John retiring to Spain.

On the other hand, the prospect of waving farewell to Sir John's much loathed progeny is a very welcome prospect. Presumably having run daddy’s business into the ground Dirty Doug will welcome the chance to flog his shares and raise some more money to fund whichever vice he currently favours.

For Freddie, if he does depart, it's unlikely to see any wailing and gnashing of teeth. Whilst he managed to resurrect his reputation following the News of The World expose, his repeated utterances in the media and general demeanour around the place have once again seen his reputation slide into the gutter. The results of the recent Mag Poll revealed over 90% of respondents holding the board responsible for our current state of disarray.

So from that point of view, any investor has got to be welcomed.

Looking at the two prospective investors, it would be hoped that anyone looking to invest money would do so on the basis that a successful club is a profitable one, and for that reason they would presumably be forthcoming with money to invest in the side.

Perhaps worryingly for Souness, some of the stories suggest a possible return for Keegan (although how keen he'd be to return to Newcastle remains to be seen – a prospect probably made more appealing if Dirty Doug is out of the picture.) Whether everyone would welcome a return for the man once hailed as King is open to debate. Whilst few would argue that the football we enjoyed under his tenure first time out was anything but a joy to watch, his later experiences of management have hardly been sweeping successes, and it’s always worrying to see a manager return in the hope of recreating past glories (e.g. Howard Kendall at Everton).

Whilst Souness has his critics, it’s clear that another change of manager would only further destabilise the club, and for that reason alone he needs to be given a chance to bed in his signings, hopefully adding to them along the way, and have a crack at making the team his own.

Of course, this could all simply be idle gossip, conjured up by Sir John to boost the share price. We'll have to wait to find out whether a change of shareholders is forthcoming, but I can't see many people expressing anger or outrage if a new investor were to come forward, with the vast majority likely to welcome new blood on to the board, particularly if they happen to be media shy puritans.


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