Yorkshire born and bred, Amanda Staveley has become the front-runner to become the newest owner in the Premier League.
The 44-year-old who runs PCP Capital Partners entered a non-disclosure agreement with Newcastle United on Thursday ahead of an anticipated £300m bid for the club.
If Staveley does complete the deal to take over at St James’ Park it’s fair to say Britain’s ‘most glamorous financier’, according to This is Money, will be a departure from Mike Ashley’s reign at the club.
Staveley was once involved romantically with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, before meeting her meeting her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who worked for her company.
They married in 2011 and they have one child, Alexander (Lexi), who was born after Staveley went into labour during a business meeting. She now splits her time between Dubai and their place on London’s Park Lane.
Personable and powerful, Staveley’s company is backed by a reported £28billion in funds from the Middle East and China and she clearly has her sights set on becoming a big player in football.
So who is the potential next first lady of football?
What does she know about football and sport?
From the business side, plenty. Staveley is no stranger to cutting deals for football clubs.
Spotted in the stands at St James’ Park last week before Ashley formalised his intention to sell the club, Newcastle isn’t the first team on her radar.
Staveley and PCP helped broker Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City from Thaksin Shinawatra in 2009.
And last year the firm were part of a joint bid to take a share in Liverpool which was rejected by the Fenway Sports Group.
She sounded out Liverpool’s American owners but walked away after they slapped a prohibitive £1billion price tag on the club after preliminary buy-out talks.
Staveley also has connections to horse racing.
What is her background?
The daughter of Robert and Lynne Staveley, Amanda retains the Yorkshire accent of her upbringing, and bold business undertakings appear to run in the family.
Her father founded the Lightwater Valley theme park in 1969 while her grandfather, Ralph, was successful running a betting business and, later, Doncaster dog racing track.
Staveley went to Queen Margaret’s School in York where she was keen on sport, particularly athletics and equestrian, though a torn Achilles ended her sporting career.
After leaving school at 16 she took her A-levels in a single year before being accepted into Cambridge’s St Catharine’s College to read modern languages.
Her degree was never completed though after she quit following the death of her grandfather, who she’s said taught her everything she knows.
“I was very young. My grandfather died and I was in a very unhappy period,” she said.
But rather than go back to Yorkshire, she began her course towards becoming a multi-millionaire.
How did she become such a prominent player in business?
After packing in her degree, Staveley took out a £180,000 loan to open the restaurant Stocks between Cambridge and Newmarket.
With no formal training, she “lived and breathed business and banking” both studying for her future roles in the city and working as a waitress.
It is here Staveley is said to have build her extensive business network in the Middle East from her Newmarket restaurant – brushing shoulders with the region’s wealthy horse owners.
One of these was said to be a major investor in her next venture, the Q.ton conference centre on Cambridge Science Park, before being named Businesswoman of the Year in 2000.
But after selling a 49 per cent stake to EuroTelecom, a company which flopped in the collapse of the Dotcom boom, but after buying back her stake in Q.ton in a complicated deal the company failed.
She’s called herself a “cocky, arrogant bugger” at the time but it was a hard-learned lesson that she’s never looked back from.
Will she be the first lady of football?
Staveley will certainly joined some prominent women at the top of the football tree should she take over at Newcastle.
At Southampton, Katharina Liebherr maintains a 20 per cent share along with China’s Gao JiSheng, who has majority control.
Karren Brady is perhaps the most public face in the upper echelons of Premier League clubs. Barroness Brady is the vice-chairman of West Ham.
In Scotland, Hearts was effectively rescued by current owner Ann Budge after falling into financial turmoil.