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The Saudi PIF Newcastle United takeover controversy – A different strategy

8 months ago
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I am a long time reader of The Mag but never made that extra step to contribute.

However, given this Newcastle United takeover situation, I did feel the time was right to break my duck and throw in my two-pence worth.

See if, given the current controversies surrounding the prospective new owners and some of the views I have seen expressed, perhaps this alternative opinion may be of interest.

In short, my thoughts are that for those who are concerned about the goings on in Saudi Arabia, this takeover might be the best possible thing that could happen.

Now for the long bit, the reason why…

Now I agree, that might sound a little odd given that you do not want to support a regime which has allegedly (and actually in a large number of cases) performed various horrific actions. But I think that taking the past into consideration without considering the impact this takeover could have on the future, is somewhat short-sighted.

We are surrounded by controversy and horrible history, even to this current day. The US support a president who has openly expressed his sexist, racist, all conquering views with unauthorised attacks on other countries.

We praise a church which is actively covering up (and by their actions, accepting of) hundreds of child abuse cases within its organisation.

We ourselves are living in a country which formed a coalition of forces which invaded Iraq for oil under the veil of finding “weapons of mass destruction”, with that action and the ripple effects causing the deaths of thousands of innocent lives over time.

I don’t think we are quite in a position to take the high-road on this one, when a lot of the people who are complaining about the actions of this Saudi group and then not wanting to support the club, are still going out and directly funding their main income source by buying oil based products, either by filling their cars with petrol, using smartphones, playing on artificial football pitches, even PPE for our NHS workers are using the plastic products produced from these crude oils etc.

The past is the past, it is not always pretty, but it is what it is.

When it comes to this group wanting to buy our club. I think I can confidently say first and foremost that they are not necessarily planning on doing this to make a profit. The money you pay week in week out will not line their pockets. What I think they will achieve by this is to significantly raise their profile.

The better NUFC is performing on the pitch, the higher the profile of everything associated with the club will be. From the city and fans, to the playing staff and owners. This is what the main benefit this purchase will offer to the Saudi PIF.

Take Mike Ashley as an example…13 years ago a relative unknown to most people, but he has since raised his profile so significantly since the takeover of the club, he and his Sports Direct business are actively discussed in media and governments on an almost daily basis.

Which leads me to my point (hurrah!)…

The end result of the rise in profile for our dear friend Mr Ashley has helped lead to an extreme amount of pressure for him to change the things he is doing wrong. Zero hour contracts, his lack of compassion for human life during the current outbreak and lame justification to open his stores, furloughing staff to take advantage of government aide to protect his own billions. The increased media profile has led to the escalation of these topics and I can’t help but think if it wasn’t for his ownership of the club, maybe things wouldn’t have been so difficult for him.

The same will be said of the increased media profile around the new owners. Their actions, no matter how insignificant, will be under increased scrutiny. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was already a Netflix expose in the works (which would be typical for us if they do complete the takeover!)!

The alleged actions they performed in the past will, if repeated, be under an ever brighter spotlight the higher the profile the club can achieve. The impact of this cannot be overlooked.

So my suggestion to help improve things in a country breaching so many human rights conventions: We can’t change the past, that much is clear, but if we support our club and make it as big as it possibly can be, we might be able to change what happens in the future.

It is possibly quite a naive way to think of the situation, but I love my club and I am extremely biased, I just want everyone else to continue loving it with me!

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