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This decision is the ultimate sliding doors moment in the Newcastle United history

4 years ago

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 Kevin Christie.

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

Despite misgivings about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, I am fully in favour.

I actually don’t buy this idea that buying NUFC would be a simple case of ‘sportswashing’, as this takeover has been played out so publicly and under such intense media scrutiny that it has resulted in the average person having their eyes opened to some of the harsh realities of life in Saudi Arabia , which can only be a good thing.

In fact, I have far greater concerns about how the heart and soul of our club might be inexorably changed by the influx of such vast wealth but that is very much what they call a ‘First World Problem’, so bring it on!

Do you think the Newcastle United takeover will happen?

The wait has been confusing and excruciating but the one thing giving me confidence is that there has been more than enough time for things to go wrong and for the deal to very publicly fall apart – the fact that that hasn’t happened yet gives me hope.

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

You could analyse the statistics and come up with a proper answer soundly based on logic and facts but the reality is that it’s 50:50 – it either will or won’t!

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?

Much the same as at the start of the 2019/20 season but with added misery and hopelessness. Having seen a glimpse of the Promised Land, it will be truly heart-breaking if this takeover doesn’t happen.

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?

This takeover is the ultimate ‘sliding doors’ moment in the club’s history. The football industry has changed so much in my lifetime and the new reality is that only the mega rich can compete (long-term, anyway) and we would be thrust straight into that world were the takeover to be given the go ahead.

It would make NUFC an immediate force and would ensure that we remain globally relevant for years to come. It’s such a tantalising prospect.

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…?

With the way that things had already gone in Italy and Spain, it was unfortunate and foolish that the UK government didn’t take a proactive stance.

Ideally, all football should have been suspended prior to that last round of fixtures and it may have helped to contain the spread of the virus.

Fixtures going ahead was ludicrous in hindsight but, on a purely selfish level, at least we signed off with a win that has given us a bit of breathing space.

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

Frustrating more than anything else, as all work and personal plans have either been put on hold or cancelled altogether. Some days have been very dispiriting and depressing but, for the most part, things have been fine. I’ve definitely become more patient and I now have quite a high boredom threshold! The dog has had a great time and I’ve eaten like a king too, so, there have been some positives!

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

Originally, I thought not, but now I think that it is for the best. It will be a nice distraction and will give an air of normality to life again.

I would have felt incredibly sorry for everyone connected with Liverpool if the league had been suspended and hopefully we will manage to get the rest of the season played out safely.

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.

Alanis Morissette would have a field day with that one but I don’t think we need to worry….

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

I read an article on The Mag recently where the author was saying that the diehard fans who never miss a game home or away should have been afforded the opportunity of going to these games and I found it hard to disagree with.

When I gave it further thought though, I was more drawn to the idea that tickets could be given to The Make A Wish Foundation and groups like that to give sick or underprivileged children a day to remember. Not all that realistic I suppose but would have been great. It does seem a waste to have the ground entirely empty though when at least corporate boxes could be put to good use.

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?

Impossible to say at the moment. Based on absolutely nothing at all, I’m going to guess that New Year would be the earliest we could expect to see fans back inside our stadiums.

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

Steve Bruce

Thanked for his efforts at the end of the season and then jettisoned in favour of someone actually competent!

Results have gone his way at times this season but he has really ridden his luck and the football we’ve played has been atrocious. A new man is needed to take us to the next level.

Matty Longstaff

Ambitious new signings would bring increased competition in the squad, so, he’d possibly find first team football harder to come by but I think he should stay either way.

Lee Charnley

It’s very hard to know just how complicit he is in NUFC’s failings in recent years as he has had a very awkward job to do with little support from his employer and very little goodwill from NUFC fans. I’m sure he has some helpful knowledge to pass on but I think the new owners should sweep the dead wood away as soon as they can and send him packing.

Andy Carroll

I would renew his contract for at least another season on a ‘pay as you play’ basis. He may be an analogue guy in a digital world but he does what he does exceptionally well and is still unplayable on his day. I also love local lads being in the team and that will be even more important if the takeover does go through.

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?

Fans at matches for me.

The sense of community that comes from thousands of people going to partake in a shared passion together is hard to beat.

It’s entertainment, it’s social inclusion, it’s father-son bonding, it’s mates having a laugh together…it’s everything positive in life.


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