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Opinion

‘Newcastle United takeover – Fans need to mobilise and be UNITED’

3 weeks ago
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I’ll start by saying, please bear with me and take into account, along with many others I’m one of the staunch and passionate Newcastle United fans, who travels home and away and has done for many decades.

I’m one of those many Newcastle United fans who is frustrated and angry with what has gone on over the last 18 months or so and still continues to – I will get to my point, but have a little patience please whilst I do.

What do we as Newcastle United fans want as a collective fan base?

Well there’s a question that will have one common theme…but lots of opinions on how it can/should be achieved.

What 97% (or more) of us want is Mike Ashley gone and new owners willing to back up rhetoric with hard cash and action, to enable the club to be the best version of itself possible.

We all know the potential, we all know the history, we all know the barriers.

For many of us, myself included, we have wanted Ashley out for some time now, well over a decade now and the sad thing is that many of our younger fans now don’t know anything but a restricted, hamstrung Mike Ashley owned NUFC.

Just for a minute, if we assume almost all of us want Ashley gone (and that’s a fair assumption I believe) why can we not agree on how to achieve this?

For example, although most of us want him gone, do most of us want the PCP / Reubens / PIF takeover, or perhaps that should say, Saudi Newcastle United takeover?

I sense that perhaps the fractions in the fan base are now being amplified by political persuasions and there are some who whilst wanting Ashley gone, do not want the Saudis involved.

For me, this comes down to one key element and it has everything to do with how football is funded these days.

If you don’t have multi billionaire owners, who are not just in it for a financial gain but actually want the glory and prestige and bragging rights of a successful club, then sadly you are just making up the numbers, that is reality – just our luck to have the only multi billionaire owner who doesn’t want anything but financial reward!

Even Leicester, who broke the dominance of the top six, have done so with such wealthy owners.

Ask yourself, do you genuinely want Newcastle United to be able to compete and challenge for major honours?

If you don’t and are happy to survive and perhaps flirt with European qualification now and again, take on the chin the inevitable relegations and pray for speedy promotions then fine, this takeover which continues to drag is not for you and whilst disagreeing, I respect that.

However, for the significant majority rest of us, we do want this, in fact barring this takeover, I see very few good options on the horizon.

We are football fans, we are not political activists, we have one real passion and desire and that is for our great football club, to return to former glories and be all that it can be, competing on a level playing field with the other elites.

If this takeover collapses, which is a real danger now, then the alternatives will be Mike Ashley remains and the club continues on the path we all know too well, or and this may be even worse, he sells to lesser wealthy individuals who saddle the club with crippling debt, through a highly leveraged buy-out – think the Glazers at Man Utd without the already well established worldwide commercial machine that they inherited to service that debt.

That could be a doomsday takeover which if not quickly successful leads to a bankrupt NUFC.

There are very few multi billionaires out there who will back us like say, Abramovich did at Chelsea, the appetite for buying football clubs and throwing lots of your own cash at it isn’t as big as people think, if it was, well the Reubens could easily do this deal.

What has got us to this position, where we are stuck between, Ashley purgatory, leveraged buy out nightmare and a dream takeover we can’t get ‘over the line’?

Well, I would suggest it is the puppets at the PL and their wealthy paymasters pulling their strings from outside by the threat of withdrawing significant finance and from within by dropping their own man into a senior role at the PL, all in conjunction with the ‘big six’ or is that actually ‘big three or four’?

I’m hoping that most Newcastle United fans are tuned into this fact that a deal that was seemingly about to be rubber stamped with ‘no red flags’, was suddenly halted and has been ever since in a state of paralysis.

A member of our supporter base saw all of this quite some time ago now and I don’t need to name him.

He diligently and painstakingly gathered evidence, initially with one colleague and then on his own and he built an anti-competition action case, backing it with his own hard earned cash.

He raised his points with the Premier League and called them out on this – their response? To try and belittle and mock with letters and threats, even sending one close to Christmas on the last working day of the year!

However, this staunch Newcastle fan refused to be intimidated and kept pushing, receiving further correspondence that then let slip the club already had an action running (albeit a different arbitration case) and he would be behind them before his case would even be considered.

We all know that the club have since took this case on and we now all hold our breath and wait for late next month to hear if jurisdiction is allowed and the case can finally run.

The PL are likely to argue that this case should not be ran, as NUFC are signed up to the PL rules which provide arbitration as the path for disputes. Whether NUFC or St James’ holdings or some other club associated company is running this case is semantics, it’s still NUFC, so the PL will argue the CAT case shouldn’t be even ran.

Now of course it should be argued from NUFC’s perspective that this isn’t about simply a takeover being approved or not, it is far more serious than that now, it is about illegal activity within the UK, which is anti-competitive collusion, that is the argument that should be considered by the court.

For that reason, I believe the PL will fail in trying to get the case thrown out.

Hooray you all say, case heard in October/November, deal done in time for January window.

Well……maybe….but no, the PL will most likely appeal and the likelihood is another 12 months or so delay. Aaarrrgghh I hear you say, damn those devious corrupt b.stards.

Please bear in mind though, this is all very possible and highly likely to be how this plays out, as the PL lawyers are masters in delay tactics to ultimately frustrate the other side.

Will one further delay be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and takes PCP and their partners out with no real prospect of a return, I fear it may well be!

If it does, along goes all our hopes and dreams and our kids and probably their kids dreams with it too!

We will NEVER see another potential history and life changing Newcastle United takeover opportunity like this again – any other deal will be significantly poorer and fraught with risk.

So, the question we all need to ask ourselves is what can we as MERE FANS do? Indeed, is there anything we can realistically do?

Well let’s just think about our supporter who put our CAT case together for a moment.

How is it that a body as well funded and powerful as the PL, were so concerned and frightened by this, in his own words “daft lad from Durham”, that they had to threaten him?

On top of this thought, why is it that the PL are running so scared from this case now that the club have hold of it, they are looking to get it thrown out and are now into their second spin on trying to do that and when that fails they will attempt to delay still further?

Think about that, why is it?

My own thoughts, without actually seeing the evidence, is because they have many skeletons in their closet to hide and the case against them is an absolute gold plated slam dunk and they know it, that’s why.

Just look at the evidence out there in the public domain and the biggest hint being the appalling action of the big six in trying to establish a closed shop elite invitation only ESL – come on people, don’t be naive, it’s staring us in the face!

So, what can we do, if there is an appetite to do anything at all of course – we are disjointed, argumentative, apathetic, couldn’t organise a p.ss up in a brewery Newcastle United fans remember!

This NUFC supporter has shown us a way and pointed to an action we can collectively take as fans and that is to attach a class action to the club case, through showing standing and that we have suffered a loss.

There are many ways this can be argued, failure to receive refunds from the club, staff being furloughed (two things new owners have said they would not have done), local businesses have suffered reduced income, as investment in NUFC brings a buzz to the city and excitement and spending from fans on merchandise and anything related to NUFC, as well as the many bars, hotels and restaurants, the City Council could argue huge tens, maybe hundreds of millions of lost investment opportunities from this and so it goes on.

If the buyers see the fans showing such commitment to THEIR takeover, do you not think they would join this action as well, I believe they would?

It’s my belief and thanks for reading if you have got this far, this is our only play now as supporters to then give the Courts a solid reason to reject any attempt from the PL to delay further through an appeal, as the case would no longer be covered by PL rules, as none of us are PL members.

It will cost money and so this leads to my final point, how do we do all this?

Well we firstly need as many fan groups onside and then mass and I mean MASS protests need to be supported, at every single game, flags, banners and most importantly noisy numbers to demand justice and to call out the corruption from this elite group that are funded by financial backers of the PL.

We need the message out to the fans that the protests are mainly to raise awareness and drag the media to our fight, where they can’t ignore us this time, as it’s not just a few hundred, it’s thousands (think the Hull City protest) and then communicate well the real message to fans to get on board to fund a class action.

We can fight for our takeover if we really want it and the money will come if enough of us get involved (it wouldn’t actually need a lot per person).

Time is running out though, as late September will be upon us in a matter of weeks.

Can we show the world we really are Newcastle UNITED?

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