Yorkshire born and bred, Amanda Staveley has become the front-runner to become the newest owner in the Premier League.
The 44-year-old who runs PCP Capital Partners entered a non-disclosure agreement with Newcastle United on Thursday ahead of an anticipated £300m bid for the club.
If Staveley does complete the deal to take over at St James’ Park it’s fair to say Britain’s ‘most glamorous financier’, according to This is Money, will be a departure from Mike Ashley’s reign at the club.
Staveley was once involved romantically with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, before meeting her meeting her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who worked for her company.
They married in 2011 and they have one child, Alexander (Lexi), who was born after Staveley went into labour during a business meeting. She now splits her time between Dubai and their place on London’s Park Lane.
Personable and powerful, Staveley’s company is backed by a reported £28billion in funds from the Middle East and China and she clearly has her sights set on becoming a big player in football.
So who is the potential next first lady of football?
What does she know about football and sport?
From the business side, plenty. Staveley is no stranger to cutting deals for football clubs.
Spotted in the stands at St James’ Park last week before Ashley formalised his intention to sell the club, Newcastle isn’t the first team on her radar.
Staveley and PCP helped broker Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City from Thaksin Shinawatra in 2009.
And last year the firm were part of a joint bid to take a share in Liverpool which was rejected by the Fenway Sports Group.
She sounded out Liverpool’s American owners but walked away after they slapped a prohibitive £1billion price tag on the club after preliminary buy-out talks.
Staveley also has connections to horse racing.
What is her background?
The daughter of Robert and Lynne Staveley, Amanda retains the Yorkshire accent of her upbringing, and bold business undertakings appear to run in the family.
Her father founded the Lightwater Valley theme park in 1969 while her grandfather, Ralph, was successful running a betting business and, later, Doncaster dog racing track.
Staveley went to Queen Margaret’s School in York where she was keen on sport, particularly athletics and equestrian, though a torn Achilles ended her sporting career.
After leaving school at 16 she took her A-levels in a single year before being accepted into Cambridge’s St Catharine’s College to read modern languages.
Her degree was never completed though after she quit following the death of her grandfather, who she’s said taught her everything she knows.
“I was very young. My grandfather died and I was in a very unhappy period,” she said.
But rather than go back to Yorkshire, she began her course towards becoming a multi-millionaire.
How did she become such a prominent player in business?
After packing in her degree, Staveley took out a £180,000 loan to open the restaurant Stocks between Cambridge and Newmarket.
With no formal training, she “lived and breathed business and banking” both studying for her future roles in the city and working as a waitress.
It is here Staveley is said to have build her extensive business network in the Middle East from her Newmarket restaurant – brushing shoulders with the region’s wealthy horse owners.
One of these was said to be a major investor in her next venture, the Q.ton conference centre on Cambridge Science Park, before being named Businesswoman of the Year in 2000.
But after selling a 49 per cent stake to EuroTelecom, a company which flopped in the collapse of the Dotcom boom, but after buying back her stake in Q.ton in a complicated deal the company failed.
She’s called herself a “cocky, arrogant bugger” at the time but it was a hard-learned lesson that she’s never looked back from.
Will she be the first lady of football?
Staveley will certainly joined some prominent women at the top of the football tree should she take over at Newcastle.
At Southampton, Katharina Liebherr maintains a 20 per cent share along with China’s Gao JiSheng, who has majority control.
Karren Brady is perhaps the most public face in the upper echelons of Premier League clubs. Barroness Brady is the vice-chairman of West Ham.
In Scotland, Hearts was effectively rescued by current owner Ann Budge after falling into financial turmoil.
Victor Moses scores on Turkish debut to seal Fenerbahçe win
Victor Moses, former Super Eagles winger, scored on his debut for struggling Turkish Super League side, Fenerbahçe, in their 2-0 win over Goztepe on Friday evening.
The former Chelsea player, Moses, came on for Andre Ayew, scorer of the first goal, in the 64th minute and sealed the win nine minutes later with his first strike in Turkish football.
Fenerbahçe had won only once in seven league games and flirting with relegation before the arrival of Moses, who is looking to reignite his career after being deemed surplus to requirement at Chelsea.
The wing wizard advanced with the ball just inside the opposition’s half, laid it off for Jailson who returned the favour, picking out the galloping Moses in the six-yard box to finish off the move he started.
The former Wigan player only played twice for the London club since the arrival of coach Mauricio Sarri, and the 28-year-old forward had to join the former Turkish League champions on an 18- month loan deal late in the January transfer window.
Victor Moses abruptly retired from the Super Eagles to focus on his club career but it is hoped that a return to regular club football could make him return to the national team.
Messi, Maradona plead for Sala search to continue
Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona have joined calls to resume the search for the missing plane carrying Cardiff striker, Emiliano Sala.
Guernsey Police called off the search for Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on Thursday afternoon, but the player’s former club Nantes led calls from across football for it to be resumed.
Barcelona star Messi added his voice to the cause on Friday, writing on his Instagram story, said: “As long as there are still possibilities, a hint of hope, we ask you please continue to look for Emiliano.
“I send all my strength and support to his family and friends. #PrayforSala.”
Another Argentinian football superstar, 1986 World Cup winner Maradona, also posted on Instagram pleading for the search to continue, with the message: “Hope never dies.”
Neymar gets new lover
Neymar has sparked new rumours regarding his love life after being pictured alongside a Brazilian model, Mari Tavares.
The PSG ace has been single since his tumultuous relationship with long-term partner Bruna Marquezine ended in October.
With Ligue 1 entering a winter break, Neymar enjoys a short festive holiday – and also experiments with new looks having revealed his fake dreadlocks recently.
And while spending Christmas back in his native Brazil, he fuelled romance rumours after being spotted alongside a 20-year-old model Mari Tavares at a party.
The bombshell is an active Instagram user where she often shows off her stunning curves and tattoos to her 175,000 followers.
And although the pair have not been seen showing affection to each other yet, in Brazil Tavares is already thought to be Neymar’s next lover.
The 26-year-old winger has been single since breaking up with his long-term partner Bruna Marquezine in October.
Neymar had been involved in an on-and-off relationship with the 23-year-old Brazilian actress and model for six years before ending it in October.
The Brazil ace was rumoured to have cheated on his ex with a soap opera actress Giovanna Lancellotti, but laughed off the speculations.
It was claimed the couple were at odds over politics ahead of a heated presidential election but Marquezine denied it.
She said: “It was his decision. I am going to ask that this issue isn’t prolonged because normally I don’t speak about my personal life.
“I have a lot of respect and affection for him and for everything we went through together.
“I just want to clear this point up, because we are living through a critical and dangerous time, a time with a lot of hate and no, the breakup had nothing to do with that [politics].”
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