Newcastle owner Mike Ashley met with two Mexican businessmen – apparently inspired by the movie Goal! – regarding a takeover of the Premier League club, but talks ultimately came to nothing.
Newcastle United has been on the market for some time with Ashley supposedly keen to end his wildly unpopular 12-year tenure as the club’s owner.
The Sports Direct CEO has overseen two relegations from the Premier League in his time as owner of Newcastle, with fans deeply unhappy at his perceived lack of investment into the club, poor managerial choices and controversial temporary rebranding of St James’ Park.
While rumours of a Middle-Eastern backed takeover bid went cold over the summer, there has also been talk of a consortium led by former Chelsea and Man Utd chief executive Peter Kenyon. However, no prospective buyer has been able to match Ashley’s valuation of £300m for the club.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein however, there have been other suitors, with two Mexican businessmen meeting Ashley in London last week. However, that meeting was a dead end with Ashley, supposedly, not making a positive impression.
Ornstein writes: “Ashley met with two Mexican businessmen in London last week as various negotiations to end his 12-year tenure continue.
“Unfortunately for those hoping Newcastle will finally change hands, it was a familiar story: Ashley is said to have come across as ‘rude’ and the conversation came to nothing. The visitors were club owners, though it is unclear if they were the same Mexicans who reportedly had Newcastle on their radar in May. That was apparently the Orlegi Group, led by Alejandro Irarragorri and owners of the club Santos Laguna.”
Curiously, in the report, Ornstein also reveals that the Mexican suitors’ interest in Newcastle United stemmed from the Goal! film – a rags-to-riches tale of a Mexican-American footballer named Santiago Muñez who signs for Newcastle and helps lead them to Champions League qualification.
The 2005 film, which had two sequels, was not a critical hit but enjoyed a cult following among football fans. Back in January when Paraguayan Miguel Almiron joined Newcastle from MLS, similarities were drawn between the star’s journey and that of the fictional Muñez.