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Opinion

This could be well be the Rafa Benitez legacy

5 months ago
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The bashing of Newcastle United fans over the proposed Saudi takeover is beyond absurd.

Trying poorly to draw parallels between the atrocity well documented by Amnesty in Saudi Arabia and applying that in some form of guilt to the football fans of Tyneside craving a bit of hope, is a non-argument.

The immorality in the governance of both Sport and Politics is where the bashing should lie and not just within the UK, but the planet.

A seismic shift in global sport has been required for so long, it’s hard to remember a time it wasn’t. Sport has not belonged to the ‘people’ I’d say in my entire lifetime and football is an extreme measure of it, especially relative to me, as it’s my sport of choice.

I could spend an article recounting the immoralities in Sport just within the last 30 years but why bother?

In terms of relativity; Abramovich and Chelski are the flag bearers of what was the absolute final nail in the coffin of football clubs bearing any resemblance to that of it’s people. I was 15 and hated that particular day in the history of the PL when he escaped Putin with his roubles. Football changed in it’s entirety for me then – but that’s just me and my own limited experience.

Fans are mere pawns. We can effect change to a small degree and depending on the person/people we’re chastising but we couldn’t stop those from buying/selling our football clubs irrespective. It would take all fans of all clubs around the world to unite to clamour governments to make any sort of change in the ethics of sport and who should govern them.

Good luck with that. Even then, governments are backhanded money by powerbrokers far beyond our comprehension, so who/where does the buck finally land with?

The atrocity by Saudi Arabia is beyond vile. Medieval barbarity should in no way exist anywhere in the world in the 21st Century and I’m not comfortable with the source of 80% of the incoming ownership. But those attempting to paint that us on Tyneside have no sense of moral compass over this are as bigoted in their own way. For sure there are idiots on social media who express themselves in ways which tarnish opinions, but for the love of God; ignore them, let them tarnish themselves and stop making Geordies as a whole accountable for them because we aren’t!

So to those criticising: ignore the idiots, focus your attentions on the decision makers and power brokers and maybe additionally our loathed current owner, AKA ‘the seller’.

As a seller Mike Ashley has to be quizzed over his stance over who he’s selling to also. We know of his lack of morals and ethics so let him wriggle out of that one on national news. Furthermore, those stating that Ashley has never gone ‘Khassogi’ on someone despite his misgivings – do you honestly think if Mike Ashley came from a society like that of Saudi, with his power, that he wouldn’t subscribe to his own line of atrocity in his own way? It’s all based on relativity.

Being idealistic for a second, I’d like to think that the Saudi PIF fund and what it’s purpose is, means that Saudi Arabia is looking to modernise and open itself up to the rest of the world like some other parts of the gulf. I can only hope with that it means they’re going to adopt a progressive liberal change in their society as if that fund is to do what it wants, it simply has to mean they evolve as they’ll be laid bare to the rest of the world, it’s eyes, scrutinies and potential interferences more than they can ever imagine. Newcastle United will be a globally publicised window forever more into the Saudi state and directly to the Crown Prince – operating in the shadows will become significantly harder.

Finally, with Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers, two things:

It should mean some balance within the board, albeit minority ones, but 10% each is large enough to have serious voices in decision making.

The Reubens excite me in the potential of reclaiming the land around the stadium and blocking the plans of Ashley and the council. They could own Ashley alone 10x over and I cannot see this project going ahead without them buying that land back and looking to increase stadium capacity in the years to come with safeguarding the land around it. It’s bad business not to.

As far as managerial position…

Steve Bruce to go, Rafa Benitez to return and be the architect of changing the whole culture of football within the city and region eternally.

This extends far beyond the first team and academies, within the community also. I think his vision, meticulous nature and ambition to continue a project once begun under Ashley, makes him perfect and also for his final job in club management.

It’s a chance for him to build a dynasty and whilst Pochettino et al would be tremendous, this job to begin with needs an elder statesman of Rafa’s ilk, vision and quality. A Pochettino would be a fantastic successor, but when this project is firmly established.

This could be well be the Rafa Benitez legacy.

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