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Opinion

Would this new Newcastle United owner pass your fit and proper person test?

2 weeks ago
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With the ongoing speculation around possible takeovers of Newcastle United and who might be involved, I think it’s a good time to ask these questions.

What kind of Newcastle United do we want and what is a fit and proper person?

I started supporting Newcastle United back in the 1970s. which was a very different era.

There were aspects of 70s football that I’m glad we’ve left behind, such as the rampant racism and the ever present threat of violence.

However, there were some other aspects of 70s football that were definitely much better, such as the noise that used to be generated by the home fans at St James Park, the comparatively low cost of going to the games and the fact that just about any team in the top two divisions could win a trophy without the backing of some dodgy billionaire, or dubious middle eastern regime.

The dodgy billionaires and dubious regimes that now run most Premiership clubs are supposed to pass a fit and proper person test but that’s not too difficult.

Amongst the owners of Premiership teams are a man who was known as ‘The Slumlord’ and ‘The Trailer Park King’, a man known as ‘The Lizard’, as well as others allegedly connected/involved in corruption, match fixing, running a blood sports channel, exploiting close links to their government for financial gain, regimes that allow human rights abuses and the exploitation of foreign workers…and of course our very own Mike Ashley.

Not only doesn’t it seem to matter how these owners made their money but it doesn’t seem to matter what they do once they take control of a football club. They are free to exploit that club for their own ends, sell off its assets and ignore the views or wishes of its supporters. Like I said, the bar for ‘a fit and proper person’ has been set really, really low

Personally, I’d like Newcastle United to have a new owner who isn’t a complete bas.ard (Although clearly a complete bas.ard would still pass the fit and proper person test).

I know I’ve never heard a Man City supporter say that their success has been tainted by the human rights abuses of the UAE regime or a Chelsea supporter say that Roman Abramovich should have spent more of his allegedly ill-gotten gains on alleviating poverty in his own country, rather than on millionaire footballers and their hangers on, but I’d like to think that as Newcastle supporters we are better than that.

I took part in the demonstrations outside of Mike Ashley’s stores in London, which not only highlighted the way he runs Newcastle United, but also the way he treats workers and exploits third world sweatshops and I wouldn’t want someone of a similar ilk taking over our club.

I know it might be a lot to ask but it would be good if the next owner of our club hadn’t become wealthy by exploiting the poor and wasn’t involved in human rights abuses. All I’d want is someone who would run our club properly, who would look to grow and improve all aspects of the club, who would communicate with the fans in an open and honest manner and who had the best interests of the club at heart.

It wouldn’t even bother me if he wasn’t as rich as a Roman Abramovich or a Sheikh Mansour. I think that having all that money pouring into your club can be a mixed blessing anyway.

I know a lot of supporters of ‘Top Six’ clubs and all that wealth and success doesn’t necessarily make you happy. A lot of supporters of elite clubs are the footballing equivalent of Viz’s Spoilt Bas.ard and are forever moaning about their lot.

No, as a Newcastle United supporter, if our club was properly run and managed to win just one trophy, that would keep me happy for a very long time.

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