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LONDON: Club co-owner Amanda Staveley is certain Newcastle United will establish themselves at the top of world football – but they will do so at their own pace and will not follow the plan of other clubs like Manchester City or Paris-Saint -Germain.
The Abu Dhabi-owned city are enjoying a period of relative dominance in English football, having won the Premier League title for the third time in four years last season. To deliver this success, just like PSG of Qatar, the Citizens have spent more than any other club in the division.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has reportedly shelled out around $2 million since taking office in September 2008.
And while cash guarantees success, most of the time – and Newcastle United’s new majority owners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, have no shortage of that – spending it freely isn’t something. something the Magpies will do, according to Staveley.
Responding to questions from Arab News and journalists on the subject at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit, Staveley said: “No. Rightly, some clubs have looked at related party issues. Aramco, or a company Saudi Arabia all over the stadium and that didn’t happen.
“First of all, St James’ belongs to the fans and we will always remember that. We are keepers and we are privileged to be there,” she said. “We have the biggest fans, we so want to make sure we do everything that is good for Newcastle.(The) PIF are incredibly aware of their position as caretakers.They also want to make sure that any sponsorship decisions made in the future are taken with due care and the necessary attention.
“There are now very strict related party rules,” Staveley said. “I never worried about them when we came in. We bought the club and the rules changed very quickly – but I was never going to make any deals that weren’t fair, we will run the club efficiently.”
“We are going to get the best deals the club needs.”
Co-owner Staveley also shed light on the job title she has held in recent months at Newcastle.
If, with her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, they are shareholders of the club, they have also been entrusted with the role of co-interim general manager. It’s a position that saw the duo lead much of the club’s recruitment campaign in January, as well as the search for a more permanent successor.
When asked if the dual roles were sustainable, Staveley said: “I think my husband will probably get divorced if I say I want to continue. We really appreciate him, he’s a great colleague and he’s really good at his job.
“We want to make sure we’re doing a good job,” she said. “We also know that we are not the right CEO material for Newcastle. And why? Because we don’t have the experience of other CEOs.”
“We are shareholders and we want this club to be the biggest in the world.
We want to work with everyone who joins us on a daily basis and we’ve had some amazing candidates we’ve spoken to. We try to find the best.
“At the end of the day, this club is owned by the fans and the majority shareholder is PIF. It was not me and Mehrdad who worked with the management team at Newcastle – we speak with PIF 20-30 times a day. We are good friends and colleagues and they made great decisions.
Staveley revealed that a decision on a new CEO is imminent.
When asked if she wanted to stay, she replied: “We hope so. We are shareholders and we want to be shareholders for 20 years, all of us.
“We want to see this club grow, we don’t want to divest or anything like that.”
A potential problem that could arise in the current ownership model is that further investment from cash-rich PIF or 10% shareholders RB Sports & Media, part of the Reuben Brothers empire, could see PCP Capital Partners de Staveley left behind.
The Ripon-born businesswoman has no illusions about what the future might hold for her.
“It could be diluted (PCP’s shareholding) – but we’ll just have to see how that goes,” she admitted, when asked what might happen if further investment was needed.
“That’s why we have to spend wisely.”
One of the jewels in the Premier League crown, Chelsea, was put up for sale this week by owner Roman Abramovich.
As the oligarch cuts losses at Stamford Bridge, fearing sanctions over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine, Staveley isn’t looking west London with eyes envious.
Asked if she would have preferred to wait to buy the Champions League-winning Blues, Staveley said: “The good thing about taking four years to buy Newcastle is that we’ve had the great opportunity to watch all clubs including Chelsea.
“It’s a wonderful club and I love working with all my Chelsea colleagues on the Premier League board, but there was only one club for us – and there won’t be. only one club for us.
“And we like the challenge of trying to buy something 20th in the league and trying to take it to the top.”