NEWCASTLE UNITED’S £300million takeover by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is expected to go through in the coming weeks.
The deal, brokered by financier Amanda Staveley, will however have to get past a check that was once FAILED by One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson – the fit and proper person test.
Some Magpies fans are uncomfortable with the prospect of essentially being owned by the Saudi Arabian state, given the activities of Mohammad bin Salman.
But despite the Crown Prince’s involvement in the takeover, the Saudi group are expected to pass the fit and proper person test without a hitch, becoming the Premier League’s richest owners.
So what does it take to actually fail this test?
We take a look at the three people that have done just that down the years.
LOUIS TOMLINSON – DONCASTER ROVERS
Bizarrely, the One Direction superstar features on this list.
After shooting to fame with the boy-band in 2010, the proud Yorkshireman still retained his passion for his beloved local team, Doncaster Rovers.
So much so, that he was desperate to get involved.
He was handed the No28 shirt for the 2013-14 season, even playing in a reserve team match against Rotherham United.
He quickly recognised that his best chance of making a proper contribution would be off the pitch, however, as a shareholder.
Tomlinson teamed up with the club’s former chairman John Ryan, and the pair believed that they had successfully taken over the club in June 2014.
But a month later, it farcically emerged that the duo’s takeover had faltered… because they’d failed the fit and proper person test.
The singer is now worth over £50million, but he and Ryan had set up a crowdfunder to try and complete the deal.
When they only reached £757,796 of their £2million target, the EFL deemed them unfit to run a football club.
Tomlinson, now 28, reacted to the news, claiming he was “misled”.
“I’m absolutely gutted the Doncaster Rovers deal is not going ahead. I am desperate for the club to be given the recognition it deserves,” he began.
“I was explicitly told that the deal to buy the club was not dependent on the money raised by Crowdfunding. Unfortunately I was misled.
“My passion for Doncaster Rovers remains as strong as ever, and I hope that I can still be involved with the club moving forward.
“And to all the Doncaster Rovers fans , I will do all in my power to help the club succeed. I really do love the club.”
DENNIS COLEMAN – ROTHERHAM UNITED
Local property man Dennis Coleman inherited a Millers side riddled with debts following his takeover from solicitor Peter Ruchniewicz, preceded by the disastrous Booth family ownership.
Losing a staggering £140,000-a-month, and facing relegation, the club went into insolvency under Coleman’s watch.
He tried to fund a promotion effort under boss Mark Robins, but failed to turn the club into a self-sustaining business.
Rotherham went into administration again in April 2008 – entering insolvency for a second time under Coleman.
This lead to him being banned from owning a football in the English Football League – as rules state that anyone that oversees two insolvencies become ineligible to own another club.
Coleman later huffed: “I came in and in effect saved the club. It is totally unfair for me to be disqualified.”
STEPHEN VAUGHAN – CHESTER CITY
The warning signs were there from the off when Vaughan took over at Chester in 2001 – with Blues fans only having to look to his former club Barrow for evidence of what was to come.
A former amateur boxer, Vaughan had taken over the Cumbrian side in 1995, initially ploughing money in and financing a new 1,200 seater stand.
But following an investigation into money laundering by HM Customs and Exercise, Vaughan’s investment stopped, following his subsequent resignation as chairman.
This lead to the Bluebirds entering administration and being expelled from the Conference.
At Chester it was to be a familiar story.
Vaughan, whose links to gangsters had been revealed, arrived in 2001.
The pattern was similar, an initial flood of investment was followed by links to criminals emerging and leading to a resignation.
Controversy was sparked when he arranged for a pre-match minute’s silence to mark the memory of a murdered gangster.
Financial problems began to stack up, and Vaughan was banned from being a company director after being found guilty of VAT fraud in his role as CEO of rugby league side Widnes Vikings.
Chester City went out of business in 2010.
Following a stint in jail for assaulting a police officer, Vaughan subsequently moved to Malta, becoming involved with football clubs Floriana and Hibernians.