At least we know Kenyon is serious
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