After 17 weeks in limbo, Newcastle United remains in the hands of wantaway owner Mike Ashley.
The Saudi-backed consortium, fronted by Amanda Staveley, pulled out of a deal to purchase the Premier League club this week.
A£300million deal to purchase the club from Ashley had been agreed back in April.
But after the deal was scrutinised by the Premier League it was announced on Thursday that their offer had been withdrawn.
Many Newcastle fans are looking upon the collapse as a missed opportunity, their chance to be funded to the extent that they could take on the Premier League elite and battle for trophies.
Ashley, who still wants out, is now looking for a new buyer.
Here’s a look at five key questions after Saudi Arabia and Ashley’s failure to get the deal over the finished line…
Were Amanda Staveley’s plans for Newcastle United any good?
Yes. Staveley got it, and plan was ambitious.
It was better than Ashley’s, which is why fans cut her slack amid the moral and business issues.
She agreed a £305m purchase price, and the business plan was for another £250m to be pumped in to fund transfers over and above the usual budget, which if invested well, could see United show ambition on the pitch. Investment in the wider City was promised, but it is unclear why that is tied only to the deal.
If the Saudis love Newcastle that much, why not invest anyway?
Was having Saudi Arabian state money behind the bid the problem?
Yes. It mired the deal in controversy and the Premier League could not pass them as suitable owners.
Withdrawal saved their face, when they realised it has stalled indefinitely.
Human rights issues, piracy and the ownership structure were all hugely problematic.
Did Amanda Staveley tear-stained interviews make sense?
No. Saudi-based piracy of top flight games was a huge issue blocking the deal but Staveley has claimed: “Piracy wasn’t an issue but we dealt with it anyway.”
On the ownership structure, Staveley said: “The Premier League wanted the country, Saudi, to become a director of the football club. It would be impossible for a state to become a director.”
But the Saudi PIF invests state money for the long term benefit of the Saudi state.
You can’t separate it from the state. It is the state. The chairman of the PIF is the ruler of the state, Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman himself.
Will Mike Ashley still sell?
Yes. He was “distraught” when he discovered the deal was unravelling early in the week.
He is not one of those blamed by the buyers. Ashley wants out.
He wants his £305m and to concentrate on his retail empire.
Could a deal be resurrected?
It is hard to see how it will be using Saudi money. Given the Premier League reservations that seems dead.
Could Staveley lever in another backer?
Could the billionaire Reuben brothers up their investment?
Could Ashley find a buyer in the United States?
Where is Henry Mauriss, and can he confound doubts that he isn’t rich enough to afford the deal?
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip