Tinkler withdraws Knights offer

Nathan Tinkler has withdrawn his 10 year, $100 million offer to take over the Newcastle Knights.

The mining magnate, who’s estimated worth is about $1.027 billion said after three months of negotiations, a frustrated Tinkler said Knights chairman Rob Tew and chief executive Steve Barrastin were acting in self interest.

Tinkler told The Sydney Morning Herald he would only consider reopening talks under a new board.

”We have been working on this for three months and we are still at the same point we were three months ago,” Tinkler said.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Tinkler’s bid for the club was costing him $16 000 a day for the past month in legal fees and he had run out of patience.

”You can only bang your head against the wall for so long.

“Life goes on.

“They had their chance.

”People say [the club] has to be in community hands. Let me tell you it is not a community club at the moment. It is the hands of two men, Steve Burraston and Robbie Tew.

”None of their board has a clue what is going on. They keep information from those guys; they stand over so they can’t talk to the media and voice their views.

“It is a two man show.

“The Newcastle Knights belong to Robbie Tew and Steve Burraston.

“They are not capable of closing this deal.

“That is my frustration.

“The consequence of that is to say ‘that’s enough, we are not going to get there’.

”If something transpires and there is a new Knights board I would be more than happy to talk.”

In order to call an extraordinary general meeting, the signatures of at least 100 members are needed, according to the Knights constitution.

According to the Herald, a meeting was called last night to get the required signatures and call an extraordinary general meeting in 21 days to declare a vote of no confidence in the board of directors.

”If this was about the community, you would look at the commercial terms and say ‘$10m for 10 years this is a pretty super deal’,” Tinkler said.

”These guys don’t recognise commercial terms, they are only worried about their jobs I think.”

But the chairman and chief executive have dismissed these claims and said they are not taking the easy option.

”I have no pecuniary interests in a particular outcome here,” Tew said. ”The easy thing to do would have been to move on and hand it over.

"The hard thing to do is to represent the best interests of this club and the membership and represent the best interests of this community.”

They also pointed out the fact that board members are not renumerated, but are honorary positions.

Tinkler said he is insulted by the clubs treatment of him and said over the last three months he “had shook hands and thought ‘we are there’ probably about half a dozen times”.

“Then each time they go away and come back with more claims that frustrate you,” he said.

”The hardest thing has been the lack of respect. The fact that these guys must think ‘I’m dealing with this young bloke who will pay anything’. That is ridiculous.

”Guaranteeing $10m a year for a football club. That was my passion for the community and wanting Newcastle to go forward.

"They are waiting for another miracle.

"Good luck with that. I’d rather make things happen than sit and hope.”

According to the Telegraph, Tinkler’s fight for the club may not be over, as he intends to get some of Newcastle’s most influential people, from ex-players to industry leaders, to publicly support his bid.

Tinlker had hoped his offer would help out the struggling NRL club, like he has done with other Newcastle sports teams and causes.

Five months ago, Tinkler save A League club The Newcastle Jets from having to fold, when it couldn’t reach short or long term obligations.

He said despite his passion for the Newcastle region and the family ties there, he has no problems cutting ties with the Knights following the latest developments.

”There are plenty of other charities in Newcastle that this money can be used for and I don’t think they will be as near as hard to deal with,” he said

”That is what we are talking about.

"The club is a charity. It is not a viable concern.

"It has never made money in its 23 years.

"For the last couple of years I have rolled a bit of my loan over as sponsorship so they can claim they are making a profit.

”I have done that because the club is important to the community … It has got to the point where the club is going to forever struggle and I didn’t want that to be the case.”

Last month, Tinkler said his offer of $10 million over 10 years was his final offer, after having previous offers declined by the club, and meeting their demands of security for a decade.

His offer also included erasing the club’s $3 million debt.

The fight has now turned sour, with Tinkler saying the club should return money he lent the club previously to keep them afloat.

”You guys don’t want my offer, you don’t need my money, give it back to me,” Tinkler said.

”You can’t put your hand out and tell me you need my support and then bite the hand that feeds. If you don’t want the support, OK, the support is not there.

“You have rejected my offer.

“You can’t look generosity in the eye and tell it to go away and then say we really need it, give me some money.”

He said his involvement with the Knights was a natural progression of a Newcastle-loving boy and he is not the person the club is making him out to be.

”It started out as $750,000 and I rolled some of it into sponsorship a couple of years and another year I took a sponsorship and put Patinack Farm on the jersey.

”They are playing me as a desperate buyer, that I am desperate to buy the Knights.

"That is not the case. It never has been.

"The only reason it is transpired into this is because they are broke again and they asked me to put more money in.

”I said, ‘Guys, I can’t keep doing this.

"Putting half a million or $750,000 in the club at a time because you can’t get out of your own way to make sure things are managed properly.”

There are now reports Tinkler is moving his attention to super-coach Wayne Bennett and that he called Cronulla Shark’s Kade Snowden last week to advise the former Newcastle Knights junior not to sign a contract until the end of the season.

Image: The Courier Mail

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