Sport Soccer

Friday 18 October 2019

Newcastle head coach Bruce refuses to focus on fresh takeover talks

Kenyon first tried to buy the club last year.

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is in the dark over fresh takeover speculation (Nigel French/PA)
Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is in the dark over fresh takeover speculation (Nigel French/PA)

By Damian Spellman, PA

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is refusing to be distracted by fresh takeover talks as he prepares for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Leicester.

Reports claiming that former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is attempting to buy the club from current owner Mike Ashley for a second time, once again with financial backing from the United States, surfaced late on Thursday night.

The PA news agency understands that no bid has yet been tabled and sources on Tyneside are treating the latest reports with extreme scepticism after a series of aborted moves to relieve Ashley of the club in recent years.

Asked about the speculation at his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, Bruce said: “Until (head of media) Lee (Marshall) briefed me this morning, it was news to me and it’s not something I can comment on.

“Lee informed me there was something breaking last night, but I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.

“I can’t influence anything like that. The only thing I can influence is how we play on a Saturday – or Sunday in this particular week. That’s the only thing I can really focus on.”

Kenyon first tried to buy the club in September last year and Ashley had hoped a deal would be done, but he was ultimately unable to raise the money.

The 46-page brochure, which suggests he and his GACP Sports partners would pay £125million up front as part of a £300million deal, is designed to attract further investment, an issue which has scuppered several prospective buyers in the past.

Bruce, however, has seen it all before and is simply getting on with his job.

He said: “You have to get used to it. It’s happened to me before – it’s happened to me three or four times. It’s something you get used to.

“This club in particular, there’s always speculation surrounding it and it’s never happened, so watch this space.”

Newcastle return to action on Sunday desperate to bounce back from a dreadful performance in last Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Brighton.

They will do so without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who faces several weeks on the sidelines with a Grade Two hamstring tear, although his absence is mitigated by the return of Sean Longstaff from an ankle problem.

Bruce said: “Shelvey has got a problem with a hamstring, he’s out. He’s got a Grade Two hamstring, so he’ll be a couple of weeks.

“Longstaff is okay. He’s trained all week, he’ll be okay.”

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