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NUFC notebook: The intriguing move NUFC's would-be owners have already made

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Newcastle United’s would-be owners have held talks with the city council in what appears to be the clearest indication yet that there are wider plans for investment in the region alongside possible rejuvenation of the Magpies.

The deal remains with the Premier League for sign off with no timeframe for when the green light or an announcement will be made.

But background work has been going on alongside the takeover, which would see the Saudi PiF take an 80% stake in the club while property developers the Reuben Brothers hold a 10% stake and Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners have 10%.

That includes contact between the group and executives at the city council over plans for the future, with at least two long conversations being held recently to discuss how United could be at the centre of civic life in Newcastle.

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Possible renaming of the number nine bar – with the possibility of returning it to the original which bore Alan Shearer’s name – and the East Stand after a club legend have been among two “easy wins” mentioned but there have been other deeper discussions. Building on the club’s relationship with organisations in the city (which, to be fair to the current regime, has improved in recent years) is key to winning hearts and minds in the city.

Although fans will be anxious to hear what changes are envisaged to help the club compete with the Premier League’s big guns, those close to the buying side have always emphasised it is a “long-term project” and investment.

Manchester City’s owners transformed the east end of that city over years but there’s no blueprint just yet for exactly what any investment would look like.

This is the sixth week of checks and despite surges of excitement that an announcement could be soon, the situation remains that Premier League confirmation and transfer of funds are required to complete the buy out.

It’s understood that this deal has been one of the most complex the Premier League has ever dealt with. The process has required lawyers and outside investigators to look into stacks of sensitive information and interrogate objections from several parties. But buyers’ side sources insist there have been no red flags raised and remain hopeful of an announcement soon.

Amanda Staveley watched Newcastle United's game against Liverpool at St James' Park in 2017

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Newcastle United will revert back to thinner stripes in a return to a more classic black and white home shirt next season, the Notebook understands.

The design is a departure from the thick stripes which split opinion this year – but it appears that those designs have been waved through in order to fulfil orders ahead of next season, whenever that starts.

The Notebook understands that the club have signed a one year rolling extension with Puma on roughly the same terms as the long-term deal that was reported to be worth around £6.5million a season to the Magpies.

With uncertainty around the club’s long-term ownership, it was probably the smartest move – although there were talks with other manufacturers. It’s not clear whether there were clauses in the deal if ownership changes but the short-term nature of the Puma agreement means anyone coming into the club can shop around next season.

NUFC third kit - leaked image

The first images of Newcastle's third kit, leaked by FootyHeadlines

Intriguingly the kit designs have gone out to buyers but there is no sleeve or main sponsor on any of the designs, which is another hint that new owners will have room to negotiate their preferred commercial sponsors.

As previously reported, the two change strips are “fizzy yellow” – part of the colour scheme Puma club Manchester City wore last season – and “peacoat blue”.

No doubt commercial and retail will be two areas looked at by any new custodians of the club. Everton struck an £8.5million-a-year deal with Hummel this week but Liverpool’s recent deal with Nike – worth some £30million – is the biggest in the league. (MD)

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Newcastle United could be the first of a network of European clubs bought by the Saudi PiF, according to Al-Nassr FC director Nahmed Al Breiki.

Reports in Brazil claimed PiF were also looking at Botafogo and now there are claims that United could be part of a group that would mirror the “City Group” model that Manchester City’s owners have used to buy up clubs all over the world.

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Posting on social media Al Breiki said that “God willing”, “one or more will follow in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Belgium for the purpose of building a bridge between contracts and academies between them”.

With so much of a vacuum around the deal, it’s impossible – as yet – to gain a full appreciation of what is being planned. PiF continue to flat bat media enquiries.

But sources close to the deal have suggested that Premier League investment is being partly considered a way to match aspirations in Saudi for improving their standards by looking at methods used in one of the most high-profile leagues in the world.




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