On Thursday #Cans happened, for those not from Newcastle upon Tyne, this was the end of a long running saga, last nearly two years in which the local football club, Newcastle United, my team, were sold.
To give some background, for the past 14 years the club has been owned by Mike Ashley of Sports Direct fame, under whose watch, we have seen the lowest recorded attendances at the stadium since the formation of the Premier League and its expansion, two of the clubs six relegations, and the lowest net investment of any club in its team in Premier League history.
He was not a popular man, he was aloof, rarely spent any money on the team and say an overall decline in all aspects of the club.
To put it bluntly, the squad is threadbare with almost no injury cover, the academy is all but decimated, the training facilities need to be demolished and rebuilt they are in such bad contrition and St James’ Park is Felapp dated and in serious need of maintenance.
The club has been a zombie of the game and in perpetual crisis, within a few months of his arrival, he had sacked two managers and alienated club legends like Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer.
Our ground has become not only potentially the tattiest ground in English football, but has basically become a cheap advertising board for Sports Direct.
So to summarise, the club is glad to see the back of this awful man, and I honestly hope he never sets foot in the city again.
However there is a big but, our new owners are a consortium of the Reuben brothers, who are some of Britains richest men and have actually been investing a lot in the city these past few years. One of the sons, Jamie will sit on the board.
Amanda Stanley owns another 10% and she has been trying to buy the club since early 2017 have fronted a number of bids and put together a few consortiums to try and prise the club out of Ashley’s hands.
She was also a broker in the sale of Manchester City so she has a track record of football wheeling and dealing. And she is relocating her main residence from Dubai to Newcastle so she can be on hand to run the club.
The remaining 80% is owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, a state owned investment group that invests the counties oil profits.
That makes us the richest club in the world.
But it also means we are owned by a regime which restricts the lives of women, murders journalists and LGBT folx, and routinely suppressed Shia Muslims and Baha’is.
And of course there is the involvement in Yemen, which to be honest is such a bloody complex situation with no actual good guys that I am not even going to try and explain that one.
We are being used to sports wash, you would have to be a fool to not see that, but frankly, we fans get little choice in the matter.
Are they the idea owners, of course not, but when we look at who else has been allowed to own Premier League clubs, it would be hypocritical to make a special case for Saudi Arabia, after all Manchester City has been own by people with questionable human rights records twice and are also used to sports wash.
The crack is, we fans have a chance to use our club to show the Saudis that they need to change how they do things at home, we can protest their crap during games with chants and signs, and these will be broadcast into the Kingdom for all their citizens to see, and I highly doubt beIN will be in any mood to censor that.
Look I know it’s not perfect, but right now, I am glad to see the back of Ashley, as for the Saudis, that’s something we have to figure out, the club lost its soul long ago, for all the bad they have done, The KSA has given us that back.
I am conflicted, I doubt it will ever sit easy with me, but my club is more than the ground, players, infrastructure and owners, it’s the fans, and we must remember that owners come and go, but the fans are what make the club.
- Mood:- So Tired
- Caffeinated Beverages Consumed:- 12
- In My Ears:- The Pretender – Foo Fighters
- Tabletop Game Last Played:-Warhammer 40,000
- Video Game Last Played:- Halo Reach
- Book Last Read:– The Patriot List – David Guymer
- Movie/TV Show Last Viewed:- Star Wars Visions
- Current State of Projects:- Blood Ravens Captain & Assault Intercessors about 75% painted