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Opinion

Hypocrisy is rife with latest journalist attacking fans for looking forward to Newcastle United takeover

4 months ago
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A lot of fans feel that the reportedly imminent Newcastle United takeover has seen journalists taking the moral high ground from very dubious positions.

Newcastle fans unfairly called out for welcoming a change of ownership.

Journalists criticising Newcastle fans for welcoming the idea that the Saudi PIF will be financing a progressive NUFC, rather than Mike Ashley who has been a leech for 13 years, sucking the lifeblood out of the football club. Using it to simply benefit himself and his retail empire.

The media overwhelmingly simply standing by as Ashley has done this, rather than campaign against the shocking way the owner has used and abused the club.

At best we have had the odd token article criticising Mike Ashley when he has really pushed the boat out but the norm is that journalists have stood back and slavishly followed the Ashley line, repeating parrot fashion the propaganda put out by the NUFC owner and his minions. Indeed, rather than leaping to the defence of Newcastle fans, the London media have regularly ridiculed the supporters, accusations of delusion and who do they think they are for believing they deserve better than aiming for survival in the Premier League and a club policy of not trying in the cups.

Whilst the UK government and the Queen welcome Saudi Arabia as friends and trading partners, it is apparently the duty now of Newcastle fans to take to the streets and demand this takeover doesn’t happen.

Newcastle fans apparently should be ashamed if they don’t say no to Saudi PIF owners, as though we have ever had a vote on who owns the football club.

For journalists to attack Newcastle fans, it is simply cowardly, an easy target. They should be going after the UK government, royalty, the football authorities and so on for allowing this to happen.

Plus of course if journalists are so disgusted with where money comes from, they surely couldn’t work for any employer who takes advertising from any country/regime that they disapprove of…

Oliver Holt is the latest (see below) to denounce Newcastle fans for welcoming the takeover, putting the weight on their shoulders to not accept this Saudi PIF ownership.

Well surely any such journalist would refuse to legitimise such a country/regime by travelling there and covering a sporting event? Yet Oliver Holt was there only four months ago covering the Anthony Joshua fight and wrote: ‘When the UK government trades with the Saudis, it is hard to blame Hearn and Joshua for taking their money, too.’

Meanwhile back in 2011 the man from The Mail declared: ‘Does it really matter whose money it is? Chelsea spend Russian money, City spend Arab money, West Ham spend English money.’

I would be all in favour of strict rules on owners of football clubs in England, the ideal of course would be having a system like Germany were fans have to own the majority of shares in each club. Failing that, only owners allowed who have the purist credentials, coming from countries with decent human rights records and a proper democratic system, not ones where business people get super rich due to their relationship with those who rule. I would also rule out those who avoid paying tax when they should. as well as those with deplorable records when it comes to how they run their businesses in the UK and treat their workforces (home and abroad via suppliers as well…).

Those are of course ideals but as Newcastle fans we know fine well that some kind of utopia doesn’t exist in English football, especially the Premier League, instead ‘Greed is good’ is the ideal the league lives by.

Would I vote for UK government sanctions on the likes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to pressurise them into improving their human rights record? Yes, 100%

Am I going to take to the streets and protest against this Newcastle United takeover? No, 100%.

That doesn’t equal supporting how Saudi Arabia is governed, just as is the case with journalists who would claim the same, despite travelling there to cover sporting events and/or getting their wages partly funded by advertising from such countries/regimes.

Extracts from what Oliver Holt has written in The Mail – 18 April 2020:

‘The true poison of Mike Ashley is that Newcastle now welcome an owner whose people have his critics murdered’

‘I am already familiar with the excuses and the justifications that are being prepared by some in the North East should the deal, which is said to be 80 per cent financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, go through.

There is Saudi investment in Sheffield United, the UK sold more than £600million worth of arms to Saudi Arabia between October 2018 and March 2019, Anthony Joshua fought Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh last year and Manchester City are owned by Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, which is mentioned in dispatches by Amnesty International for its proclivity for ‘arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and enforced disappearance’.

All of those things are to be deplored. None of it makes what appears to be about to happen at Newcastle right. None of it makes it any more palatable. It is tempting to be seduced by the prospect of real investment being poured into the club because so many of us love it and what its fans stand for and want it to be successful again. But let’s be honest about it: if the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle goes through, it will be a new low for the English game.

I dislike much of what Ashley stands for but the last time I saw a picture of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man who is set to replace him, on the news, it was because it was reported there was evidence he had authorised the murder of a dissident journalist in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.’

‘Ashley’s cohorts might have banned you from the club but at least they did not ban you from your fingers, hands, toes, feet and head. So let’s not pretend Newcastle are getting some sort of upgrade here.’

‘Which is why it is worth pointing out that what is about to happen at Newcastle is essentially a trick, a ploy more cynical than anything Ashley dreamed up. So enjoy the football the new regime finances if you can but never forget it has been bought by blood money.’

Oliver Holt – 7 December 2019 in The Mail:

‘When the UK government trades with the Saudis, it is hard to blame Hearn and Joshua for taking their money, too.’

Oliver Holt had this to say on likes of Chelsea and Man City back in 2011:

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