The Athletic presents a new podcast: Beyond The Headline.
A documentary series that will take you inside the most important stories in the football world, bringing you the finest expertise from The Athletic’s award-winning team of writers, as well as the people at the very heart of those stories.
Beyond The Headline kicks off on Tuesday September 22 with Newcastle United: The Takeover That Never Was – a deep dive into Newcastle and a takeover saga 13 years in the making that has been off, on, off, on and now off again. For now, at least.
With narration by Adam Leventhal, the story is told by The Athletic’s George Caulkin, Chris Waugh, Oliver Kay, Matt Slater and Michael Cox, as well as host of ‘Pod On The Tyne’ Taylor Payne, from the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust Alex Hurst and former NUST member Linda Bush.
In episode one we take a look back at Mike Ashley’s tenure at the club, turning what was once a proud club into a glorified advertising hoarding for Sports Direct. We take you back to the early days when there was optimism about his ownership, before it all very quickly went south with two relegations, the ostracisation of Kevin Keegan, the sacking of Chris Hughton, the appointment of Joe Kinnear not once but twice, the Alan Pardew years, hope under Rafa Benitez and despair under just about everyone else.
We ask how Ashley managed to make himself so unpopular, why he got himself into a position where literally anyone else would be preferable to him and the battle for the soul of a football club.
In episode two, we look at the takeover. Or at least the latest takeover attempt, as Amanda Staveley’s efforts to buy the club from Ashley began three years ago and dragged on, and on, and on. We look at the involvement of Saudi Arabia, that led to Amnesty International warning against the club and football in general being used as “a willing dupe of those trying to sportswash their abysmal human rights records.”
We explain why the takeover collapsed, how it was nearly revived and whether there is any chance it could return.
And in episode three, we look at the future. What next for Newcastle United? What next for Mike Ashley? What do the supporters want from their football club? Will anyone else want to buy it? Is their undeniably sensible summer in the transfer market a sign that things are changing? And why is Ashley as popular now as he’s ever been?
All three episodes of Beyond The Headline are available to download from Tuesday, wherever you get your podcasts, or listen ad-free on The Athletic. To subscribe from just £1-a-month, visit theathletic.com/beyond.