DUBAI: Amanda Staveley, the British financier who is a member of the Saudi-led consortium that has taken control of Newcastle United Football Club, told Arab News of plans to invest “in all areas” of the club after the 18-month takeover concluded.
“I know that managers and new players and all those exciting things are so important and are at the top of everybody’s agenda at the moment,” Staveley said in her first media interview after the deal was announced.
“Today is not the day to talk about new managers and new players, but what I would say is that we are incredibly keen to invest in the grassroots of this club. It is at the heart of the local community, and we will work with the fans and the community to find out what is best for them and for Newcastle United.”
Staveley, in her role as CEO of PCP Capital Partners, which now owns 10 percent of Newcastle, also spoke of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, her senior partner in the takeover with an 80 percent holding.
“PIF is an autonomous, commercially driven investment fund and I think that it is a great partnership between a great investor and a great club,” she said. “We will finally be able to invest in the club, in its infrastructure and players.”
She was speaking after a whirlwind couple of days during which the logjam surrounding the consortium bid for Newcastle was suddenly brushed aside after resistance from the Premier League, the English football authority, evaporated.
“The logjam was over control, and those issues have been resolved. We would like to thank the Premier League for all of its hard work over the last few months getting us here today, and that is essentially what broke the logjam.”
Staveley first approached Newcastle owner Mike Ashley with a proposal to acquire the club in 2017, but various approaches were resisted until the PIF got involved in late 2019.
“It has taken us four years to get here and we need to just go in and do a full review, both on the football side and the commercial side, and we will come back and make those investment decisions over the near term,” she said.
In addition to around GBP300m ($408.6 million) to purchase Ashley’s shares, the Saudi-led consortium is also committed to spending $340.5 million on the football club and other related facilities in the northeast of England.
“Most important for me is the academy, and to get investment to all areas of the club, from all sides,” Staveley said.