Steve McMahon-linked company in frame to buy Newcastle with plan to keep Shearer at helm
09 June 2009 05:32
A Singapore-based investment company has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Newcastle United.
The Profitable Group - who have Steve McMahon as commercial director - reportedly intend to keep Alan Shearer on as boss.
And they have a plan to follow the model of Barcelona by making them a trust with close involvement of the fans, once the club is on a sound financial footing.
St James' Park owner Mike Ashley has indicated he will sell to the first viable bidder after putting a £100million price-tag on the club and inviting offers by email on the Newcastle United website.
Get me out of here: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley
He is said to be reluctant to offer Shearer a long-term deal for fear that new owners would not want him.
Shearer returned from a short break in Portugal yesterday, but is yet to discover whether or not the current regime want him to start the process of reshaping the playing staff for life in the Coca-Cola Championship.
In addition, it is understood the package Shearer has requested for him and his staff would be significantly in excess of current levels in the Championship.
Keith Harris, chairman of investment bankers Seymour Pierce, has indicated there has been contact with 'two or three' parties interested in buying the club.
The Daily Telegraph say The Profitable Group have opened talks with Ashley and quote an insider as saying McMahon 'can offer expertise in the background', but that Shearer is the man they want at the helm.
Plans are being considered to expanded the St James' Park capacity to 60,000 and there would also be cash to strengthen the squad, though not by lavishing funds on the type of huge pay deals that are currently rife.
The squad is in serious need of overhauling, not least to reduce an annual wage bill of £74million.
In addition, the club's existing season ticket holders will receive renewal notices later this week, and amid a groundswell of opinion backing Shearer's immediate appointment, the prospect of a major backlash is growing all the time.