What Newcastle dressing room thinks of £300m takeover – Steve Harper

Newcastle United coach Steve Harper insists the plays remain focused on Premier League matters even with the proposed takeover hanging over the club.

It is now eight weeks since Newcastle owner Mike Ashley agreed a £300million deal with a Saudi-backed consortium group.

The takeover has been met with a great deal of opposition with human rights campaigners calling on the Premier League not to allow the deal to go through.

As it stands, the Premier League are deliberating over whether the consortium meets its owners’ and directors’ test.

And it all comes just as Newcastle are gearing up to resume the season after an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Newcastle’s first match back is set to be against Sheffield United and Harper told talkSPORT that the minds of the players are focused on getting back to work and not the takeover.

“We just crack on. We wouldn’t know, it’s certainly above our pay grade,” Harper told talkSPORT.

“As players and staff, we just get on with it. The job we have in hand is the restart on June 20.

“It’s a weird situation because you haven’t had that period off post-season so it is an intense period getting ready for those 10 games and focusing on that.”

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Meanwhile, former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has explained why he expects the takeover to eventually be approved despite the ongoing delay.

“The blockage is one of, initially, moral outrage and the second one is the challenge around piracy and how the Saudi Arabian regime – according to the World Trade Organisation – appears to be funding a piracy model that is hijacking content and publishing it in a fashion that is out of keeping with the Premier League itself,” he said.

“The Premier League sells its output to a company called BeIN. BeIN’s output is essentially being nicked by a company called beoutQ.

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“I just feel the Premier League will use it as leverage to try and get some reining in of that but I just feel I would be very, very, very surprised if they block this and are able to block it.

“There are other people that own football clubs that one could question the veracity or the efficacy of their ownership and I think this is going to be a very difficult situation.

“If the Premier League blocks this move, it is effectively saying that owners only to their approval – irrespective of the conditionality and you’ll move the bar and move the bar – and then you will have the argument, raging in Newcastle more than anywhere else, that this only retains the status quo for those that it suits.

“I would be very surprised if it is blocked.”

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