MARTIN SAMUEL - CHIEF SPORTS WRITER: It has always been easy to think negatively of Mike Ashley. Sometimes, he makes it so. Other times, perceptions are manipulated — particularly those held by Newcastle fans. Take the collapse of Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners takeover deal. The script is Ashley standing in the way of progress. The reality: where's the money? Ashley is a villain on Tyneside and, no doubt about it, he has made mistakes throughout his time there. Maybe, most recently, he regrets allowing Staveley to be photographed so ostentatiously attending St James' Park before the details of her proposal became known.
MARTIN SAMUEL – CHIEF SPORTS WRITER: If Alexis Sanchez signs for Manchester United, his agent is believed to receive upwards of £10million. And fair enough, he deserves it. Seriously, he does. There is a lot of unwarranted equivalency in football. Agent bonuses set against the paltry £200,000 it will take to keep Hartlepool afloat this month. Yet Sanchez’s advisor isn’t the reason Hartlepool are going skint. We all know why Hartlepool are going skint. If Fernando Felicevich delivers his client to Old Trafford, however, he will be worth every cent of United’s generous reward.