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Opinion

Doubt my credentials as a lifelong Newcastle United fan but new owners may discover I’m not the only one

5 months ago
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It seems traditional to establish your bona fides as a Newcastle United fan before offering an opinion on the state of the Geordie nation.

The ‘Lifelong supporter’ doesn’t cut it for me.

It’s possible to claim that dubious accolade without ever having moved from the settee and many do.

I have had the same season ticket for over 30 years and alongside thousands of others, suffered the highs and lows of following a team that appears to have developed a more or less complete immunity to quantifiable success.

My contempt for Mike Ashley, let me be clear, is complete, and inspired a chest clearing 20 verse rant on his multifarious failings.

I called it ‘The Cultural Vandal’ and should you doubt the level of invective this odious man was subject to therein, it includes the line, ‘I’d pop rivet the bastard to a plank without pity’.

That line, over the top as it appears to me now, in or out of its vaguely humorous context, has returned to haunt me.

We are now about to welcome a new owner of Newcastle United, one who has at his disposal, a complete team of torturers, whom it seems, are equally effective at achieving a result, whether they are playing home or away.

If this takeover does take place, and over time we do have cause to celebrate, it will be in splendid isolation from much of the global football community, who will regard our ‘success’ with distaste and justified contempt. We’re not going to be anyone’s ‘second team’.

Perhaps the new owners should take care. This is a singular region and its people are no strangers to dissent if suitably moved. It may be that the light reflected from the anticipated glut of silverware, will shine just as brightly on the prisons and detention centres of Riyadh as it does on Tyneside.

Others have described the shameful human rights record of the Saudi elite and I won’t repeat their infamous catalogue of terror and repression here. Suffice to say that this is a place where women are subject to a disgraceful sexual apartheid, where public execution is regarded as a suitable riposte to adultery (if you are female), and to ‘witchcraft’, and homosexuality among others.

I wonder how many empty seats there would be at St James Park should similar laws apply here?

It seems ironic that while the world suffers from a virus that seeks to prey on the the weak and vulnerable, we should allow the introduction of another to infect a culture that has, historically, always allowed room for its conscience.

NUFC is poised to become nothing but a bumper sticker for one of the most noxious and intolerant regimes on the planet.

Doubt my credentials as a lifelong Newcastle United fan if you dare, call me snowflake if you must, but personally I’m not OK with this, and as the new owners may discover, I’m not the only one.

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