Date: 17th September 2008 at 8:55am
Written by:

As has been widely tipped, Mike Ashley and the Cockney Mafia have emerged from their boltholes to make a fishing trip to Dubai. Attached to their rods was the particularly rancid bait of buying NUFC for a ‘bargain` £481m. This would basically double Fat Ash`s investment in the club – not a bad return for a man who claimed to be in it for the love of the club, not the money.

Apparently Ashley`s massive cock-up in purchasing HBOS shares would explain his need to milk the club for a bit extra spends, with prices tumbling in the last 12 months from a £10 peak to £2 currently. With the shares picking up 10% today perhaps he`ll shave £48m off the asking price – who knows?

Principally named have been Sheikh Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and Dubai Sports City. There are two schools of thought within this one. The first is that he`ll buy, but not at Ashley`s price.

The other, and more likely, is that he is using a feigned interest in us to smoke out Hicks and Gillette at Liverpool and take over the Mickeys. With a long standing interest in the club and the two Yanks struggling to meet interest payments in the current financial climate it seems like his waiting game could be about to pay off.

‘Informed sources` in the Gulf area suggest that Ashley`s desperate manner and the whole ‘I can`t take my kids to the game` spiel from his statement, might actually have stitched him up. Rightly so hopefully as his statement about being assaulted was pure fantasy. These same sources also state he is more likely to find a buyer in Qatar or with the various consortia he has been negotiating with.