What We're Reading

More Bad Decisions Ahead For Newcastle?

The daily online editorial at the U.K. soccer monthly ponders the wisdom of Newcastle United possibly taking on former England and Barcelona manager Terry Venables as its short-term manager. The troubled north-eastern wannabe giant, knocked out of the League Cup Wednesday by the Premier League's bottom side Tottenham, has also been contemplating a sale to a mysterious Nigerian consortium.

"Anyone who reads the [U.K.] tabloids' football pages on a regular basis will know that Venables is always in the process of weighing up job offers," says the editorial. "The situation has to be exactly right for him, though. He's a busy man and can't afford to dally with timewasters when he could be sat in a hotel lobby somewhere shooting the breeze with his many friends from the world of big business."

As for the possible Nigerian buyers said to be in talks with reviled team owner Mike Ashley, rumors abound that the interested party is connected with the same people that send us all e-mails offering unfeasible amounts of cash in exchange for our bank account details, and that Ashley "is now the only person left in the industrialised world who would fall for it."

A spokesman for the consortium, however, claimed "they are very serious business people and passionate football fans," a combination that would make them, in the magazine's words, "an extremely rare combination that will bode well should their takeover succeed." Meanwhile, businessman Peter Lee is coming up with a fan ownership plan, whereby an optimistically estimated 300,000 fans would throw away (sorry, invest) just under $2000 each in the club, on top of a one-off $160 million cash injection from an unnamed individual.

"Supporter ownership is a great idea," says WSC. But it doubts that Newcastle's fan-base has the strength to carry it off given that a similar scheme at the much more widely supported Liverpool is reportedly not going well. Such schemes "should have been successfully applied at the top level a generation ago before the game was swallowed up by global capital."

Read the whole story at When Saturday Comes »

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