Football may be postponed but the day-to-day goings-on at Newcastle United are still interesting thousands of fans.

From claims that the club is on the verge of being taken over by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia to the furloughing of staff at United - there's always something going on.

On this week's episode of The Everything is Black and White Podcast, host Andrew Musgrove is joined by football editor Mark Douglas, and special guest Neil Mitchell - the former chair of the NUST, now settled in the Middle East.

The trio discuss all the key issues regarding the club,

Mark Douglas' view on Newcastle United furloughing staff

Firstly, it's only fair to say it's happening in our industry - Reach PLC, which is the publisher of The Chronicle, has also furloughed staff.

There are a lot of big companies taking similar decisions.

But I think the reason that it's very difficult when you look at Newcastle United is that it's only certain staff who have been furloughed.

What is troubling is that the broadcast money that's coming in is so big that to use the government money is unpalatable.

I'd like to see what the financial reckoning was behind it.

We know Newcastle United just doesn't communicate particularly well, and they haven't actually at any point issued a statement about it.

Newcastle United's English owner Mike Ashley (L) chats with director Lee Charnley (R) in the crowd ahead of the FA Cup fourth round replay football match between Oxford United and Newcastle United

But I'd like to see the financial reality behind this decision - is it that they need the money and if they don't, then they're not going to be a going concern because how is it that 14 other clubs in the Premier League are not in that position?

Newcastle have always made a big play about the fact that they are well run, yet, they've furloughed non-essential staff, and it doesn't sit well with me at all.

You've also got what they're doing with season tickets as well.

They're the only club I think at the moment that's taken any money for next season and that's not offered refunds over that as well, which doesn't sit particularly well.

It's just typical Newcastle United and with Mike Ashley, I don't think people are going to forget in a hurry what happened with Sports Direct.

Mark Douglas urges club for better communication

It's typical Newcastle United - they have taken some bad decisions and haven't communicated well on it.

They don't seem to want to communicate or they don't seem to want to be honest and open about decisions they've made.

There was an email that went out to all staff, and it was a little bit more personal but that's not come out into the public domain yet, but you'd like to think that they would justify it but as you've seen with Liverpool, they listen to their supporters.

They've reversed the decision that they should not have taken in the first place.

Newcastle United do not listen to their supporters for the most part.

They haven't responded to NUST on the season tickets, and it's fairly typical, isn't it? We know this is what Newcastle United do when things are when the going gets tough.

They just make decisions and they very rarely will explain them.

Neil Mitchell on the view of the PiF takeover claims from the Middle East

We've had this further story drop from two different sources, saying things have gone further and I think it's it's interesting to see nobody's really clear in exactly where it's at.

First, it was somebody said, buyer's paperwork was with the Premier League and then it was the buyer and the seller have sent paperwork to the Premier League, then it's some of the paperwork doesn't match with what we've been told and we don't know really what's at then.

Then other sources say it's the furthest a takeover bid has ever got but I can categorically say it isn't.

But at the same time, it seems to have progressed quite far.

Here in the Middle East, initially, there wasn't a lot of noise about it other than amongst the ex-pat communities who follow the British press.

But now there seems to be a little bit more word of it.

Speaking to pals in Saudi, in particular, there seem to be more mumours about it, but it is still not excessively exposed, but that would be quite normal there.

So what happened to the Bin Zayed Group?

They've never gone away, and I can tell you that categorically 100 per-cent.

I have coffee with Midhat Kidwai (the group's MD) on a regular basis.

I know there always interest.

One of the questions I get asked regularly is do you think they actually would deal with the BZG Group again? I would counter that with another question would Sheikh Khaled want to deal with Mike Ashley again?

You got one very upset member of the royal family on your hands, and exceptionally angry, exceptionally frustrated by a lot of things that happened within that deal.

Bin Zayed's Midhat Kidwai and Sheikh Khaled meet UNOPS
Bin Zayed's Midhat Kidwai and Sheikh Khaled meet UNOPS

The group would hold their hands up and say if they could, they would do quite a few things quite differently.

But you can't change that in the past.

Going forward, I think if the right opportunity presented itself in the right way and you could spend time with the chairman explaining it and ensure that the dirty tricks of football didn't upset people again, I think there would still be interest.

There's no doubt about that.

Having seen some of what I've seen, personally I'm quite gutted for them because the one thing I would say, having got to know Midhat a little bit is he's a really nice guy and he cares.

That's why he got dragged into the whole answer fans' WhatsApps and things and things like that.

He wanted to make fans happy.