Unfortunate events of 2024 that made for uneasy backdrop at Newcastle ahead of Amanda Staveley exit

Newcastle United will react to Amanda Staveley's sudden departure after her time as Toon figurehead was declared over after three years at the top.

After an incredible rise from the depth of despair at the foot of the Premier League to the Champions League with glamour nights in Milan, Dortmund and Paris, last season came the slump. It wasn't exactly hitting rock bottom but slipping from the top four to seventh place with a campaign of unrest and controversy thrown in always kept the door ajar for change of some type at St James' Park.

It's not as if anybody has really failed at Newcastle, but the level of success and the general harmony around the club changed last season. The official version of events will be relayed to fans in due course but what unfolded last season wasn't helped by a stuttering summer in 2023 in terms of recruitment.

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A deal for Sandro Tonali was rushed through a little and it forced an full investigation behind the scenes after his addiction to betting was not identified before the button was pressed on a costly £55million transaction. That caused tension at Newcastle between sporting director Dan Ashworth and other backroom staff.

Ashworth took responsibility by facing the media but that was only after Eddie Howe had grown tired of being the man to answer questions on Tonali's ban and suggestions the club's homework hadn't been done. It is believed that PIF took a great interest in the club's long injury list with the medical department's day-to-day running and even the warm-ups of the players scrutinised.

And then came a very subdued January. Never mind new signings, it was more a case of whether the club could hang on to star names with PSR chaos bubbling away beneath the surface.

CEO Darren Eales shocked journalists over a Zoom call when he said that any player could be sold for the right price. Eales said then: “It is difficult to hypothesise but, if we’re offered £1bn for one of those players, then no one could argue against that making sense.

“Any decision we make will always be against the backdrop of the medium to long-term benefit for the club. It’s difficult to say specifically on certain players, but I can say that, if we’re going to get to where we want to get to, at times it is necessary to trade your players.

“Whether that is because of the contract length of the player in question, the offer is too good to refuse, you need to reload in certain areas, but all of this could make sense to trade that player. It is counter-intuitive and part of the inherent system of PSR that there is an incentive to trade your players if you want to re-invest, by the nature of the boundaries.”

But even after the window closed with no incoming business, something else appeared to be grinding at Howe. The fact Newcastle held dialogue with Bayern Munich on Kieran Trippier's potential sale irked the football department.

Howe questioned the value of the £12m proposed sale and queried if it would make sense from a football point of view. By the time that had died down, more unrest surfaced with Ashworth's links to Man United surfacing.

At a Press conference Chronicle Live asked Howe if he was comfortable with Ashworth being privy to transfer information when he was potentially being tracked by Man United. He said: "Your concerns are relevant. I don't know quite how much I can say on that, but I share your feelings.

"It is better for everybody if that is the case. That's why I say he is in a position of power and there's a lot of intelligence and information, that is why it is a slightly unusual situation."

Within days Ashworth was placed on gardening leave but Newcastle were behind the European chasers and would soon be knocked out of both domestic cups. As Newcastle dropped to 10th in the table some fans turned on Howe on social media but Newcastle looked to have rallied to finish in Europe.

But on a fateful night at Old Trafford - ironically - a 3-2 loss cost them dear and Man United's subsequent FA Cup win in the final over Man City eliminated Newcastle from Europe completely.

The summer nightmare wasn't over as the threat of PSR issues and points deductions resulted in the sale of two players in Elliot Anderson and Yankuba Minteh. Disaster looked like it had been averted but a bitter fall out over the proposed offer to Liverpool to sell Anthony Gordon and talk of his head being turned would follow.

It all coincides with Staveley's exit, but perhaps there are a few more twists and turns this summer at St James' Park. Steadying the ship has to be the mantra for now though, something Howe, Eales and Paul Mitchell must get on with quickly.