Drumaville two consider Newcastle bid
Former Sunderland shareholder Charlie Chawke is putting together a syndicate to bid for Newcastle United. Dublin publican Chawke was part of the Drumaville Consortium which took over Sunderland three years ago, but is no longer involved at the Stadium of Light after Ellis Short completed his buy-out in May.
Several consortia have matched owner Mike Ashley's £100m asking price for the Magpies, with groups from Malaysia and the USA understood to be leading the way. However, no deal has yet been done, and Chawke views the prospect of buying the St James' Park side as "a very viable option".
Fellow publican Louis Fitzgerald, another member of the Drumaville Consortium, is also in favour of the deal. Speaking on Irish radio, he said: "We're putting a syndicate hopefully together to do just that [bid for Newcastle].
"We had a great time in Sunderland. We got seven Irish people and one English person together with a syndicate and we succeeded in acquiring Sunderland.
"We had three great years there, but unfortunately we're gone now. It's sold out to an American and we're looking for options and Newcastle is a very viable option at the moment.
"It's on sale for about 100 million, which is about 500 million less than what it was worth a year and a half or two years ago. We have to look at options other than Sunderland and Newcastle would fit very nicely into our portfolio."
He said negotiations are not too far advanced, but confirmed they were in talks, not directly with Ashley but with legal and financial people. Asked how the interest had come about, he replied: "We had friends in Sunderland who were looking at it for us, through our accountants here in Dublin.
"What we're trying to do at the moment is put together a syndicate of people who are interested firstly in football and then investing with us in Newcastle United if possible."
Asked how many people he was looking to have in the syndicate, Chawke said: "We're thinking about possibly the same as we had in Sunderland, about eight people maybe, depending on what money we can get."
He added: "It's a great club, it houses 52,000 people. It's a great city, Newcastle.
"It's a bit like Dublin - vibrant, full of fun... all the best things in life are there. It makes perfect sense if I could just swing it."