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‘When I used to tell them Newcastle United were as big as Liverpool and Man Utd they used to laugh…’

2 years ago

I’ve not written an article for a Newcastle United fanzine since KK’s wonderful first stint as manager.

As a young teenager, I enjoyed the wave of optimism Sir John Hall’s appointment of KK had brought, following the abysmal Ardiles era.

My mate and I decided, that to help fund our away excursions, that we’d start a fanzine.

Some of you may remember it – The Giant Awakes, it stopped when we got proper jobs, but we enjoyed it and it got us to many games we otherwise couldn’t have afforded.

We named it for the feelings we had at the time, having always debated and discussed amongst ourselves and with the glory fans we knew, who simply picked whoever was winning the league to follow.

They all used to take the out of us, “Newcastle as big as Liverpool or Man U, don’t be stupid!”

I’d always felt it, in fact being the obsessed person I was and still am about what NUFC could be, if we were ever ran properly, I used to read up on our history to throw facts back at the people who mocked.

“Liverpool have never averaged 50,000 in any division, let alone the top two divisions in this country, but we have” I’d say (and this was still true, even before the extensions to St James’ were made).

Up until our last trophy win in 1969, only Villa had won more major honours than NUFC, so we did used to be a big AND successful club, sadly not in my lifetime, that’s all.

You can’t change history and we are still to this day the 9th most successful team in England – not bad for a club that has won no major honours for over 50 years now!

We are in the all time top five clubs for average attendances and in the top 10 for European appearances, ahead of those bitter Neverton chaps you know!

Why do I feel compelled to write something again now?

Well, to try and provide some clarity, perspective and calmness, to some of my fellow Mags.

There are an increasing number, who the longer this takeover saga goes on, are worrying that it must fail.

Well I say, don’t worry, keep the faith and look at the cold facts and trust in the PL concluding the only possible way they can and that is to approve the proposed directors / owners.

Their own rules, if followed to the letter, mean that they have literally no reason to prevent this deal.

Do we honestly think that Staveley (a key person in the process of City being taken over), the Reuben brothers (scocnd wealthiest family in the country) and PIF (an investment vehicle for diversifying Saudi business interests) would have gone into this process, without first doing their own due diligence and foreseeing potential questions from the PL?

Human rights would have been covered, as would piracy, so they would have carefully chosen whose names they put on those documents, submitted to Companies House and then the PL.

I think the hold up has been a combination of things; Covid situation, Project Restart and most likely a PL board that has at least one, maybe more, members who hand on heart would like to stop this, but realise they have no legal route to enable them to do so.

I fully expect this deal to go through, based on the facts and rules and then afterwards a rewriting of those rules, to ensure this type of circus can’t happen again.

NUFC will have its takeover and Ashley will be no more very soon and we will become the team everyone loves to hate.

I can deal with that and as a fan base we can use our collective strength to show the world we are truly United, as we embark on yet another rollercoaster of excitement.

There is nothing to stop us challenging the Saudi side of the ownership either, to show courage and strength and to start to change their ways.

They are looking to open up to tourism and change their economy’s reliance on oil. Will it be a long process? Yes, of course, but logically they will have to change if they want that to be a success won’t they?

Will we allow them to use NUFC to try and rewrite history or erase some of their horrific acts? I hope we won’t.

I genuinely hope, that by taking on such a high profile club, that it will mean their rulers have to change their country’s human rights policies and working conditions, women’s rights and how they treat foreign nationals/visitors, because if they don’t their plans will fail and as the reliance on oil worldwide diminishes, so will their income streams.

You see, owning NUFC may be only one of many investments made by PIF this year and nowhere near their most expensive, but as we’ve already seen, even before it has been confirmed, the media attention has been the most significant for them.

Why? Because the PL is global and hugely popular, grabbing the attention of the world’s media like no other sporting league on the planet, that spotlight and scrutiny, is something Saudi can’t hide from and they will know that.

So, in us welcoming their investment, they also on the flip side are welcoming our hospitality, culture and influence into their lives.

NUFC – A lifetime’s obsession, keep the faith – Ashley Out!



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