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Opinion

If two Jewish guys, a Muslim nation and businesswoman can work in partnership, we should be embracing it

2 weeks ago
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The Newcastle United takeover, football suspended, football now returning, Mike Ashley actions (and inactions), dealing with the virus situation in general, playing matches behind closed doors.

All subjects that as a Newcastle United fan you have had to deal with in recent months.

Ahead of the Magpies returning to competitive action, we have asked some regular and irregular contributors to The Mag, to answer some varying sets of questions relating to themselves and NUFC.

Next up now is Paul Patterson.

Are you in favour of the Saudi PIF takeover of Newcastle United?

It’s not all about just getting rid of Ashley but we really shouldn’t concern ourselves with who buys the club. There are other ‘unfavourable’ owners already involved with football.

If the UK government and the royal family are ok with the Saudis then it’s got nothing to do with anyone else. I’ve also remarked elsewhere that if two Jewish guys (the Reuben brothers pictured above), a Muslim nation and a woman can get together in partnership, especially in this current climate, then we should be embracing such a set up, not pushing it away.

Do you think the Newcastle United takeover will happen?

Right now? I’m starting to feel that the Premier League are simply waiting for one factor that can’t be ignored to arise so they can block it or that so many factors arise that they can just block it because it’s too toxic a takeover. If it’s rejected, I envisage legal challenges.

Is it the right decision to complete the 2019/20 season?

Absolutely. You couldn’t award titles/relegation/European places based on where teams finished as of lockdown and to scrap the season would have been a massive waste.

I’ve no connection with Liverpool but they deserve a chance to rightfully claim the league and to relegate teams without the chance to get safe would be criminal. However, a big shout out to the mackems, another year in League One. Pity! To misquote government social distancing advice “Keep two leagues apart”.

Newcastle win the FA Cup, their first domestic trophy in 65 years, and there isn’t a single Newcastle fan there to see it happen. Discuss.

Wouldn’t that be just typical but we’d all take it. That said, I can’t see it happening. Not with our squad, our head coach and the teams left in it.

Do you think at least a small percentage of fans should have been allowed into games when the Premier League resumes?

With social distancing, I’m sure restricting it to some season ticket holders would have been manageable but that said, how do you know the fans that are allowed in are clear of the virus? As sterile as it will be, it’s the right call.

With hindsight, do you think Premier League football was suspended at the correct time in mid-March, or should it have happened earlier, or maybe you think later…?

It was probably about right the time it happened. That said, I thought it was a bit foolish of Cheltenham and the Liverpool Champions League game to go ahead when they did. Without getting political, airports should have been first to be locked down / screened and then this lockdown would quite possibly be over by now with a lower infection/death rate.

How would you describe the impact of these last three or four months on yourself?

Trying. I’m blissfully happy with my own company and being forced to spend time with family almost 24/7 (no offence family) hasn’t been the best of experiences, so the lockdown has actually had a fairly negative effect on me.

The government’s furlough scheme took the weight off financially and has been a godsend. Not having the chance to simply sit and chill by one’s self over a beer in a pub and to watch whatever nondescript match is on the tv (Newcastle or otherwise) has been a massive miss.

By the same token, I think the one thing missing from everyone’s lives at the minute is routine and being able to leave the house to go to work has been a big miss. If it wasn’t for being able to go out cycling I think I may have gone crackers (more so). I think a lot of people have been going out to the shops / walking etc just for the sake of it and won’t do so as frequently when we’re back to normal. There are habits adopted in lockdown that people should keep up afterwards.

How confident are you, as a percentage, that the NUFC takeover will happen?

50/50 at present. I suppose that has gone up over the years as I used to just reject the story out of hand. This time it appears real but until I see the parties sat in St James’ with scarves about their heads, I’ll keep the cans chilled. Talking of the cans hashtag, we’ll probably be back in pubs by the time this is concluded.

If the takeover didn’t happen and the 2020/21 season kicked off with Mike Ashley still owning the club, what would be your position as a fan?

Depends on the circumstances. I certainly wouldn’t be setting foot back in the ground if Ashley is still in situ and if the takeover has been rejected on the so called ‘toxic’ ownership angle, that’s me finished with football. I’m not prepared to sit back and watch their product if they’re going to be that hypocritical.

Do you feel this takeover is the pivotal moment for Newcastle United, that whichever way it goes will dictate the future of the club for a long long time?

I at least think Ashley is a motivated seller more now than his whole time at the club to date. It will give us a chance to compete at a whole new level than merely looking to survive and feed the owner’s pocket, which won’t be the new owners aim. So yes.

What would be your best guess of month (and year!) when you think some fans will be allowed back into Premier League stadiums? Also, when you think full capacity crowds will be allowed?

I think the authorities will look at it to resume ‘normal circumstances’ from the start of next season but that said, with the two metre social distancing that will be impossible. I’m thinking that until there is a vaccine found it’s a non-starter. They’ll have to come up with something probably involving just season ticket holders and a reduced capacity.

If the takeover happens, what ideally should happen with each of these four…

Steve Bruce

My feelings on Bruce are well documented, he shouldn’t be anywhere near the Premier League let alone at Newcastle United with ambitions of being a top six club. I thought that back in 2004 when he was first rumoured and I still feel the same. That said, I’d let him see out the season and then make a move on the replacement. Ideally Rafa Benitez.

Matty Longstaff

All efforts must be made to keep Matty. I’m not saying keep him at ‘all costs’ but there are certain packages I’d put in front of him and his advisors, certain targets for him to aim for over the course of the contract. The key to both the Longstaff brothers is good management and development. They’ll get neither under Ashley and Bruce.

Lee Charnley

See Steve Bruce. A man promoted well above his station.

Andy Carroll

I said we shouldn’t have entertained the idea of bringing him back and nothing has changed. How on earth can he STILL not be fully fit? A waste of a shirt and whatever wage he’s on could go elsewhere (like Matty Longstaff). A signing aimed at appeasing fans, nothing more.

If you could press a magic button, would you choose to have pubs open as normal, or fans able to go to football matches as normal?

I won’t go to St James Park until Ashley’s gone so I’d have to say the former.

That said, we need to get back to normal as soon as possible and what better scenario than having new ownership AND fans packing St James Park to coincide with each other and then Newcastle United kicking on as a club after 13 years of deliberate stagnation under Mike Ashley.

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