At least we know Kenyon is se­ri­ous

Sunday Sun - - News - MARK DOU­GLAS mark.dou­[email protected]­i­tymir­

Re­gional Foot­ball Editor SO now – at least – we know Peter Kenyon is se­ri­ous about buy­ing New­cas­tle United.

The emer­gence of a let­ter writ­ten to Mike Ash­ley be­fore Christ­mas of­fers some fresh de­tails in a takeover saga that has been drain­ing and weary­ing and cre­ated cyn­ics out of many of United’s long-suf­fer­ing and beaten down sup­port­ers.

Cru­cially, it puts Kenyon on the record for the first time about his in­ter­est and gives the im­pres­sion the deal is be­ing done in good faith.

What the let­ter il­lus­trates is that the two sides seem to be work­ing to­gether. And the fact both sides knew the let­ter was go­ing to come out in the pub­lic do­main prob­a­bly adds to my feel­ing that Kenyon is the most se­ri­ous of all the suit­ors for the club in Ash­ley’s 11 years.

What it doesn’t do is con­vince me wholly that the deal will be done. Only ex­tra funds and a real de­ter­mi­na­tion on the part of Ash­ley to sell the club will do that – and the let­ter doesn’t prove ei­ther of those things.

Scrolling through Twit­ter af­ter it broke was a de­press­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that tells us a lot about the bro­ken trust in the club’s hi­er­ar­chy. Few seemed to take the let­ter at face value, many feel it a pub­lic­ity stunt to excuse not back­ing the man­ager.

And who knows? It could be that. No jour­nal­ist would ever re­veal a source for those ask­ing about the prove­nance of the cor­re­spon­dence and, any­way, I can’t tell you the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind mak­ing it pub­lic – just like I can’t tell you if it was a PR stunt or whether there is any­thing else go­ing on here.

What­ever the truth, it is a story worth pub­lish­ing, just like speak­ing to Amanda Stave­ley was ab­so­lutely the right thing to do last year – even if she didn’t back up her prom­ise that she was go­ing nowhere.

All I can say is that it is a devel­op­ment when we needed some ev­i­dence that some­thing was ac­tu­ally go­ing on and it adds to the sense that Kenyon – who knew Ash­ley be­fore this whole saga – is a se­ri­ous player and wants to get the deal done. That was what sources who had no skin in the game were telling me when Ash­ley first gave his Sky News in­ter­view and there has been plenty of work go­ing on be­hind the scenes out of the pub­lic glare.

The let­ter doesn’t al­ter the blind­ingly ob­vi­ous fact that New­cas­tle need new re­cruits to stay in the Pre­mier League or – now Ash­ley’s ini­tial hope of get­ting the takeover done by Jan­uary is no more – that it is on him to pro­vide Rafa Ben­itez with the play­ers who can in­ject a shot of qual­ity into what is be­com­ing a des­per­ately sad fi­nal act in the Spa­niard’s po­ten­tially trans­for­ma­tive New­cas­tle ca­reer. Hav­ing Kenyon on the record is sig­nif­i­cant, but Jan­uary sign­ings should be the most im­por­tant thing on the agenda.

I was told be­fore Christ­mas Kenyon wanted to do a deal even if Jan­uary passed and was still in­ter­ested if the club gets rel­e­gated. Put sim­ply, he wants a re­turn to foot­ball and sees New­cas­tle as an exciting op­por­tu­nity. That has long since been the case with Ash­ley.

But that de­ter­mi­na­tion, those talks and this let­ter won’t mean any­thing if New­cas­tle aren’t taken over and the club con­tin­ues to bleed out like it has over the last 12 months.

What needs to hap­pen now ac­tion and not words. is

■ For­mer Chelsea CEO

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