The chair of a fan-led review of football governance has pleaded with Newcastle supporters to “stop shouting” at her about the ongoing takeover saga.
Amanda Staveley, the financier who headed the largely Saudi-funded consortium which attempted to buy the Magpies last year, wrote an open letter to former Conservative sports minister Tracey Crouch on Sunday days after club owner Mike Ashley had demanded greater transparency over the Premier League’s handling of the failed bid.
However, after Crouch had indicated in her reply that Staveley’s concerns did not fall within her remit, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford found herself a target for increasingly frustrated fans of the Tyneside club on social media, prompting her appeal.
Crouch said on Twitter: “Dear Newcastle fans, stop shouting at me. I am doing an unpaid role looking at the future of football.
“I am not the sports minister. I do not have any powers to intervene in the proposed takeover. I am not ‘passing the buck’ when I have no jurisdiction over the matter. Ta. TC.”
Her call swiftly received the backing of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, which has already given evidence to the review.
They tweeted: “Tracey Crouch should not be the target of any form of abuse, shouting or twitter attack. We held a productive and engaging meeting with @tracey_crouch as part of the fan-led review.
“She was diligent, but probing and understands the issue around transparency in football governance.”
In her letter to Crouch, Staveley argued that “a closely guarded lack of transparency from those responsible for the regulation of football does not generally promote good governance”, echoing Ashley’s challenge to the Premier League to agree to the forthcoming arbitration process between the two parties being held in public and urging the Government to intervene if it does not.
However in her response, Crouch wrote: “…the review, and my chairmanship of it, is separate to Government and my involvement in issues that are occurring now is, I am afraid, beyond my jurisdiction.”
Ashley is currently fighting a legal battle on two fronts as he attempts to rekindle the proposed £300million-plus takeover.
Staveley’s consortium, which comprises her PCP Capital Partners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – the majority partner – and the Reuben Brothers, withdrew its offer in July last year after a 17-week wait for the governing body to complete its owners’ and directors’ test.
Concerns over the relationship between the PIF and the Saudi state and alleged TV piracy were the twin roots of the problem, although the prospective buyers insisted they had addressed all the relevant concerns.
The Magpies owner has since launched an arbitration case, which is scheduled to be heard this month, and lodged a claim with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in an attempt to clear the way to resurrect the deal.
In the meantime, head coach Steve Bruce and his players are preparing for the new season unsure as to what the future may hold, with fans desperate for a change of ownership.