Yorkshire's Amanda Staveley '˜closer to £300m deal for Newcastle United'

A YORKSHIRE WOMAN has moved a step closer to a £300m takeover of a Premier League football club, it was reported last night.

Staveley was present at United's 1-1 draw with Liverpool

Amanda Staveley – who was born in Yorkshire, educated at Queen Margaret’s School in York and is said to have dated Prince Andrew – was said to be deep in negotiations in London about a deal to take control of Newcastle United.

The move would end Mike Ashley’s controversial reign in charge in which he has been constantly criticised by supporters over his handling of the club.

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Now PCP Capital Partners, fronted by Ms Staveley, has tabled a formal bid for Newcastle United.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez (right) gives instructions to Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles (centre) during a Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PA

The Magpies have been in negotiations with Staveley and Middle East-based PCP since last month after the financier watched United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Sources close to the club on Tyneside have last night confirmed the offer is legitimate, reported the Newcastle Chronicle.

However, United are yet to accept the offer and Mr Ashley is still to agree to a deal to sell the club after ten years in charge.

It was reported that Ms Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners tabled a bid to buy Newcastle from Mr Ashley late last week. This came after more than two months of negotiations.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez (right) gives instructions to Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles (centre) during a Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PA

It was said to be unclear last night whether PCP was the only credible bidder for the club, although people close to the process said the logical next step would be to award Ms Staveley a period of exclusivity within which to negotiate a deal.

That could come as soon as this week, according to insiders.

PCP’s money is said to be a combination of Ms Staveley’s equity and that of her major investors, which include funds based in the Middle East.

Announcing his intention to sell the club in October, lawyers for Mr Ashley said he hoped to finalise the sale of the Premier League outfit by Christmas, although it remains possible that the process could slip into the New Year.

PCP’s lawyers have not heard back from Mr Ashley’s lawyers regarding the bid but there is no deadline fixed to it.

However, it is understood that if Mr Ashley’s hopes of concluding a deal by Christmas are to be realised then agreement would be needed soon.

Speculation about Ms Staveley’s intentions has been voiced since she attended Newcastle United’s home match against Liverpool earlier this season.

PCP had been exploring a deal to buy the Merseyside club from its American owners for much of the last year, but was ultimately deterred by their repeated attempts to increase Liverpool’s price tag.

Ms Staveley’s record in finance and football could encourage Newcastle supporters that her arrival would herald a new era of stability at the club.

Mr Ashley has faced incessant criticism from Newcastle fans for a perceived lack of investment in new players, despite winning promotion to the Premier League last season.

Ms Staveley was the orchestrator of Manchester City’s takeover by Abu Dhabi-based investors in 2008, not long after Mr Ashley had bought Newcastle for more than £240m.

She is the daughter of Robert Staveley, a North Yorkshire landowner who founded the Lightwater Valley theme park. Ms Staveley declined to comment, while Mr Ashley’s spokesman could not be reached for comment.