Newcastle United’s takeover by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium is the best news the Premier League club has had since Bobby Robson took charge in 1999, former midfielder Rob Lee said.
Fan-favourite Robson, who died in 2009, helped Newcastle finish fourth in the league in 2001-02 and third the following season before he was dismissed in 2004.
Lee told sports data and analytics company Stats Perform that Newcastle’s new owners — Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, RB Sports & Media and PCP Capital Partners — would need time to revive the club after their takeover last Thursday.
“This is probably the best news since Robson signed for Newcastle many years ago. Since he left … this club has been in decline and it’s going to take a long time,” said Lee, who played more than 300 games for the club.
Lee said the owners had to focus on long-term solutions and not merely invest in new players to improve the team.
“I’ve said before, the training ground is probably one of the worst in the Premier League. In order to get the best players, you have to have the best facilities,” Lee said. “The ground (St James’ park) is 52,000 all-seater, but it’s been like that for 14 years.
“Everything has moved on so far. The training grounds have moved on, the grounds have moved on, and I think Newcastle have been left stagnating a little bit. It’s certainly a long-term project. It’s certainly going to cost a lot of money.”
Newcastle, who are second from bottom after seven league games, host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.