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The organ grinder and his 3 Wise monkeys seem set to return empty handed from Dubai, and without the £480m Ashley was allegedly hoping to have trousered for his splendid work in bringing the Toon to it's current situation.
One report from the mid-East says that the Arabs had put valuations on half a dozen Premier clubs, before ADUG bought Man City for £210m. The Toon was on the list and was valued at – £200m – less than half Ashley's asking price, and less than he paid for NUFC in the first place. Arsenal, incidentally, by the Arab valuation, was £300m – and Ashley wants £480m for the Toon – I suspect that the Arabs' knowledge of the English language has now been augmented by the phrase ‘get real'.
The other prospect is for 300,000 members of the Toon Army to stump up £1000 each and do a Fans Buy Out. (Should that be fans buy out?) I think 300,000 probably exceeds the number of households in the entire Tyneside conurbation, and certainly exceeds the number that could readily stump up £1000. The idea seems like a non-starter, especially in these credit crunched times.
So it seems that unless what I suppose we must now call former billionaire, Mike Ashley, is prepared to take an eye-watering loss of £50m, then we're stuck with him and he is stuck with us for the foreseeable.
So what's the way forward? I must say I was quite impressed with Ashley's resignation speech – all apart from the timing – he should have told us most of that stuff about 8 months ago. It seems to me that unless he wants rid ‘at any price', then he has some tough decisions to make. He had a strategy, the cronies he employed to implement it are still on the payroll – either he still believes in them or he doesn't, and if he still believes he was on the right course he should surely press ahead with Plan ‘A'. (It's very evident there was no Plan ‘B'.)
Time to come back, become a tad more communicative with the fans, insist that his way is the only feasible alternative – appoint a lapdog manager who fill fit in with the plan – and start to transform us into Arsenal (which is worth £300m Mike – you'll be in profit by then).
Alternatively he can pay off the 3 Wise monkeys, and re-appoint Keegan which would buy him back into the hearts of the Toon Army.
So I see the alternatives as these:
- Sell at any price – take a loss
- Carry on regardless and appoint new manager
- Sack the Wise ones and bring back KK
- Fudge everything – appoint temporary manager – limp on and try to sell.
Any other alternatives? What is the best way forward for the Toon and what do you think Ashley will do?