Newcastle United can be as big as Manchester City if takeover goes through - Shay Given
Shay Given has warned Newcastle United will soon be as big as Manchester City, predicting a major shake-up in English football’s established order if Amanda Staveley completes a deal to buy the club from Mike Ashley.
Given was Newcastle United’s goalkeeper when they were playing in the Champions League under Sir Bobby Robson and he feels the club will be competing at that level again as soon as Ashley sells up.
The former Republic of Ireland international still has no idea why Ashley bought Newcastle 10 years ago because he has never shown any ambition during his decade on Tyneside, but he knows what the club is capable of and believes new owners will see its true potential.
Staveley is currently carrying out due diligence with the hope of completing a takeover before Christmas.
“Hopefully the club will be taken over because I don’t understand why Mike Ashley bought it in the first place,” said Given. “A club like Newcastle, if it has proper financial backing, it can go wherever it wants really.
“It’s got the stadium and the fanbase already. I don’t know much about Amanda Staveley, but I hear she’s got family who are from the area and if she takes over, of course it is realistic for Newcastle to be as big as Man City.
“Look where they were when Sheikh Mansour took control, they were bobbing along in the bottom half of the Premier League and look where they are now. They are one of the favourites to win the Champions League and they are probably favourites to win the Premier League,
“If Newcastle are taken over, it won’t happen that quickly, but they’ve already got the right manager in place in Rafa Benítez and everything is in place, it’s really exciting. If there is huge investment in the team, they will be queueing round the block to get into the stadium.
“I’m just so glad they kept hold of Rafa last summer because I think it was touch and go, but if he is given proper money to spend in January and next summer, it will pick up speed really quickly and they will be back up there challenging for honours.
“He has already brought the feelgood factor back to the club and the city, even though people have a problem with the owner.”