Newcastle Utd duped by £150m takeover spoof

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Textile millionaire’s consortium may not exist


Sunderland fans aren’t the only ones trying to make a monkey out of Newcastle Utd at the moment – today, the ailing club appear to have been the subject of a hoax takeover bid.

A press release issued on behalf of a textiles entrepreneur named Rick Parkinson circulated this morning, claiming the Ponteland businessman is leading a five-man consortium which intends to place a £90m bid on the club. Apparently, the prospective owners pledge to sink £30m into restructuring the business and a further £30m into a transfer kitty for Alan Shearer, the man they would install as permanent manager.

It sounds like a dream scenario for the Toon Army, but the credibility of the bid has been called into question. Seymour Pierce – the investment bankers charged with the gruelling task of selling the club – have not heard from Parkinson, and “well-placed sources” in the city know nothing of his proposed consortium.

Parkinson claims his troupe of knights in shining armour will contact the club within the next ten days (although not via the email address on the Newcastle OS – something he calls “undignified and without class”), but a press release from distributed via an unnamed PR agency to journalists has not inspired confidence in the validity of his plans.

The Telegraph quotes Parkinson thusly:

“I’m a Geordie through-and-through and it’s been heart-wrenching to see the club, and their long-suffering fans, being put through the Mill (sic) like this.

“This week’s latest developments, with the club trying to sell itself via an e-mail address on the official website, is just the final straw in what has been a wholly embarrassing tenure for Mr Ashley.

“It’s time for him to sell-up, and I believe the time is right for me to step forward. I’ve been thinking about this with some wealthy friends of mine for quite some time, long before the club’s relegation, but what’s happened in the last few weeks has just made us more determined.

“My consortium would consist of five Newcastle supporters, born and bred in the North-East who really love the club, with no hidden agenda or business plan to make any personal profit whatsoever. Our plan would be to give the club back to the supporters. We’d back it with some serious money but, more importantly, we’d listen to the fans, who are the best in the country bar none.

“Newcastle is a fantastic club, and potential is such an over-used word these days, but we really shouldn’t be in this mess, the supporters simply don’t deserve it. We would ask them to come back to us in the Championship next season, and hopefully it would only be for one year, when we’ll be able to reward them with promotion.

“The short-term plan is just to save the club from any more embarrassment and restore some pride, but we also have some ambitious long-term plans to bring European football and trophies back to Tyneside.

“This has been a testing time for everyone, not least the fans, and we have a serious determination to rectify that.”

So, is Rick Parkinson the man to end Mike Ashley’s reign of cockney terror, or is this slightly unprofessional-sounding press release the crux of a bizarre prank? Let us know your opinions below…

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