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Newcastle United takeover : Report claims ‘Fans from city’s Arab community welcome Saudi bid’s collapse’

9 months ago

The Newcastle United takeover saga rumbles on.

It is now exactly two weeks since the consortium announced they were pulling their bid to buy NUFC.

However, far from this story disappearing, if anything it has intensified.

Newcastle fans committing to an excellent campaign to try and force the Premier League to justify and explain why over 17 weeks they refused to come to a decision on approving the takeover or not.

Supporters encouraged by both Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers releasing statements saying they still want the takeover to happen, with Ms Staveley indicating that the Saudi PIF would also be willing to resurrect the deal, given the chance.

Some 110,000 Newcastle fans have signed a petition calling for an independent investigation into the Premier League takeover process.

Whilst an NUST campaign has seen over 7,000 letters written to MPs asking for their support in calling for the Premier League to come out and explain what exactly the truth is, over 50 MPs committing their support and writing to the Premier League calling on them to make a statement, even Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling the PL they have to make a statement.

However, those celebrating the takeover collapse and campaigning to stop it being resurrected, continue to find it far easier to get coverage in the media.

A new report from Middle East Eye just one of these.

Their new report is headlined: ‘Newcastle takeover: Fans from city’s Arab community welcome Saudi bid’s collapse.’

You may wonder which people in Newcastle they have talked to…but they haven’t.

Rather than speaking to people from the City of Newcastle, they instead talked to people from the town of South Shields.

These are some of the extracts from their report:

‘Descendents of some of the UK’s earliest Arab and Muslim immigrants told MEE that the bid was “morally unacceptable” given Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record, and would have brought a “negative impact” on Tyneside’s Muslims.’

“I’m really pleased the Saudis pulled out. When a power like that takes over, you sign a deal with the devil,” Parkin, a third generation Yemeni, told MEE.

“I haven’t really spoken to anybody who was really for the deal. Every person I spoke to, white, Yemeni or whatever, no one supported it on the shop floor,” he said.’

“I couldn’t support a team owned by people openly taking out distant relatives that I’ll never be able to speak to again. I’d have rather gone and watched Sunderland play,” Parkin said, referring to Newcastle’s local Tyneside rivals.’

‘South Shields Muslims ‘appalled’ at takeover

Keith Hussein, a South Shields resident of Egyptian descent, also welcomed the Saudi withdrawal.

“I have to say I’m really glad. This club has a wonderful heritage… but Saudi Arabia was trying to use Newcastle to rescue its reputation as a pariah state with huge human rights abuses,” he told MEE.’

“I’ve spoken to friends in the Muslim and Yemeni community, and they were quite appalled at the thought of the consortium taking over Newcastle. I certainly think it would’ve been very negative for Tyneside’s Muslims,” Hussein said.

Of course there are loads of Newcastle fans in South Shields and they all have the right to comment on the Newcastle United takeover, whether they support it or not.

However, it isn’t exactly an objective view with this new report headlined: ‘Newcastle takeover: Fans from city’s Arab community welcome Saudi bid’s collapse.’

Middle East Eye have clearly not having approached this from the point of view of lets find out what the Arab community on Tyneside and the wider region think about the Newcastle United takeover.

Instead it is very subjective and to suit their purposes, have focused on those of Arab descent living in South Shields.

It would be amazing if the vast majority of South Shields residents from Arab descent were not only against the Newcastle United takeover but also hated the Saudi Arabia regime with an absolute passion.

It is an intriguing fact that South Shields is home to a large Arab community almost exclusively from Yemeni descent.

The first arrivals from Yemen are believed to have come to South Shields in the 1860s and by the 1890s the records show that several hundred were living south of the Tyne. In the early decades of the 1900s there was an increase in immigration and the community at one point reached an estimated 4,000. The immigration largely due to the reach of the British empire and Yemeni men working on the ships, with then a significant number ending up settling in the UK, in coastal places such as Hull and South Shields.

Moving to the present day and the Arab community descended from Yemen have seen their country in a civil war since 2015, with Saudi Arabia leading a coalition in support of restoring the very unpopular former government.

It would be astounding if anybody from Yemeni descent would be in favour of Saudi Arabia owning Newcastle United or indeed investing in any UK businesses. What on earth they must think of the UK government happily allowing arms manufacturers to supply Saudi Arabia to be used in this civil war in Yemen???

However, if purely talking about the Newcastle United takeover, it would have been more useful if Middle East Eye had talked to those of Arab descent from across Tyneside, including / especially those that come from Saudi Arabia itself. I’m not claiming that a majority of people from Arab descent would be in support of an NUFC takeover BUT I take it that there is a very good chance that at least some of those originally from Saudi Arabia, would have given a different view to those from Yemeni descent.

Yet again though, it is so frustrating that we end up talking about politics instead of football.

There are no easy answers regarding the Newcastle United takeover but what is crystal clear, is that the Premier League have to come out now and be transparent, give clarity, explain / justify how they have dealt with this takeover situation.


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