Amanda Staveley - the woman who fought harder than anyone to save Newcastle United

Amanda Staveley, the saviour of Newcastle UnitedAmanda Staveley, the saviour of Newcastle United
Amanda Staveley, the saviour of Newcastle United | Getty Images
Amanda Staveley believed when nobody else did that Newcastle United could be freed from Mike Ashley’s grasp

Nobody shed more tears, sweat or blood to liberate Newcastle United from Mike Ashley’s back pocket than Amanda Staveley. On Wednesday, news emerged that the Ripon-born businesswoman and her husband, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, will relinquish their power at St James’ Park.

The public face of the ownership model, the inseparable duo’s importance is set to be diminished almost three years on from independence day. Ironically, it was another October day, in 2017, that ingrained Staveley’s love for the club.

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A newly-promoted Newcastle entertained Liverpool and earned a valiant 1-1 draw against a Reds outfit finding their feet under Jurgen Klopp. But the game was overshadowed by the presence of a multi-million pound deal-breaker who had helped facilitate Manchester City’s game-changing takeover nine years earlier.

Staveley was in the posh seats, mingling with the locals and sampling the world-renowned Geordie hospitality. By her own admission, Newcastle instantly gripped her - just as it had done for the 49,000 more in attendance.

“I fell in love with Newcastle,” Staveley told The Athletic after the takeover broke down in 2020. “I fell in love with the passion, the fans. It was just this incredible club. And I knew that with investment and nurturing it could become even better.

“It needed TLC. It needed a patient owner. It desperately needs investment. That day we first walked into St James’ – it felt like we had come home. We knew what they needed. We wanted it, too. And I know we could have done it.”

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Less than 18 months later, Staveley did it. She was the one leading from the front, rallying fan protests while wooing an increasingly frustrated PIF, convincing the sovereign wealth fund’s power brokers that a deal remained possible.

Her love for the club has grown, with special attention paid from Staveley to the resurgent women’s team. While that affection skyrocketed, her equity shrunk. PCP Capital Partners - her and Ghodoussi’s private equity firm - reduced its 10 per cent stake to six per cent last year.

The Reuben brothers increased their influence and, just months on, Staveley’s input is set to end altogether. PCP’s shares are set to be bought by the Reubens or PIF - marking the conclusion of her time on Tyneside.

There are several factors - both away from and involving Newcastle - said to have influenced that decision. PIF initially installed Staveley and Ghodoussi as the shot-callers during the early post-takeover days.

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That process has come to a natural end, with CEO and sporting director appointments and making their role redundant. High-profile legal battles with Greek shipping tycoon Victor Restis and former owner Ashley also trigger uncertainty about Staveley’s motive.

Ultimately, Toon fans will eulogise the 51-year-old for what she will be remembered best: Newcastle United’s saviour. The woman who, when the room was at its darkest, provided a flicker of light. A symbol of hope for millions of Newcastle supporters that 14 apathetic years were about to end.

In an industry dominated by men, Staveley was a trailblazer. Her aura can be felt in any boardroom across the country. But with that ruthlessness came a warmth, a relatability, which came from a northern upbringing. 

Staveley leaves St James’ Park as Newcastle’s queen - and will undoubtedly be welcomed with open arms whenever she returns. The club began to walk again under her guideship, now she can watch on as Newcastle aim to sprint in the coming years.

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