PROSPECTIVE Newcastle United owner Barry Moat hopes to get the green light from Barclays Bank by Wednesday for the loan which will enable him to end Mike Ashley’s disastrous stewardship.
The Journal understands that Moat expects to hear a decision by the middle of the week, setting in motion a chain of events which will surely determine whether United can maintain their sterling start to the Championship season.
Moat sat alongside Ashley in the director’s box at St James’s Park on Saturday in a move designed to show the undecided financial institutions that both men are on good terms.
The pair watched United record an emphatic 3-0 victory over Reading and stay unbeaten in the Championship but their hopes of maintaining that momentum reach a crossroads this week.
If Moat and his backers, who form Seymour Pierce’s preferred bidders, get an agreement from Barclays they expect to appoint Alan Shearer in time for the trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday – and provide him with assurances that his squad will not be further depleted.
There will also be extensive player recruitment, although United are on the verge of completing the signing of free agent Sol Campbell this week even if Shearer is not in charge.
Failure for Moat would set in motion a chain of events which would see Ashley withdraw the club from the market, and the owner sanction the sale of key assets Steven Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez before the end of the transfer window.
Taylor is on the verge of leaving for Everton - with some sources in the North West suggesting he was due at Goodison Park for a medical today - but it is likely that the defender will hang on for a few more days to see whether Shearer is appointed boss.
Gutierrez’s future is also shrouded in mystery after claims by Portsmouth’s owner-in-waiting Sulamain al-Fahim that the South coast club are in talks with the Argentina winger.
“We are speaking to Newcastle about the possibility of bringing Jonas Gutierrez to the club,” he said.
Ashley retaining control would dent the enthusiasm of United’s support after an uplifting victory over the weekend that kept the club unbeaten in the Championship.
Almost 35,000 were at St James’s Park and they sung loud and lustily in favour of Ashley relinquishing control of the club – songs that were met with grins by the United owner. And he is prepared to batton down the hatches and take the club off the market if Moat or another bidder doesn’t come forward.
The owner would also have to sort out the issue of the club’s manager, having privately ruled out the possibility of Shearer taking over.
Joe Kinnear has been telling friends in football that he will be the new manager this week if Ashley is still in charge but the owner has other options - and the former interim boss has sullied his reputation with thoughtless remarks about Newcastle fans earlier this month. For hat-trick hero Shola Ameobi, the only option if no owner is found is giving the job to the current incumbents. He believes Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood can take the club back up to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
“If the owner doesn’t sell the club we have got two guys there who we believe in as players,” he said.
“We believe they can do a great job and they have done already. All I have seen in pre-season is that the lads really respect Chris and Colin.”