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Opinion

9 in 10 Manchester United fans wanted a Newcastle United style Saudi takeover

1 month ago
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Manchester United fans have been at the forefront of the tsunami of criticism Newcastle United fans have faced in recent weeks.

As well as football pundits and media, as usual, tearing into the NUFC fanbase, supporters of pretty much every other club have been lining up to take the moral high ground.

Manchester United fans keen to lecture Newcastle supporters on their supposed failings as football fans.

Steve Bruce has been an ongoing debate for what seems forever and when he was finally sacked, Newcastle fans found themselves under even more attack.

With Manchester United fans leading the charge, saying what a disgrace it was that such a brilliant manager and person who had (supposedly) been doing such a superb job against the odds, had been forced out by the (according to them) disgraceful NUFC supporters. This despite the fans saying anything but…only seven wins in his final 38 games with a feeble 18% win ratio, clueless tactics, zero wins in the first nine games of the 2021/22 season, less points (41 in 42 PL games) than any other PL club in the last 365 days, dreadful football, more goals conceded (65 in 35 PL matches) than any other PL club, second bottom of Premier League…and so on.

Funny how quickly though the agenda (and the rules…) can change, Manchester United fans now giving club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shocking abuse and demanding he is sacked, for the crime of finishing second in the Premier League last season, currently being seventh in the table and a ‘huge’ three points off the top four, top of their Champions League group.

You couldn’t make it up. The hypocritical nature of the Manchester United fans quite astonishing, same with the media. Talk about one set of rules for one (NUFC) fanbase and a very different set of rules for another (MUFC) fanbase.

It gets better though because despite Steve Bruce being such a brilliant manager and person (and a club legend for them), it is all but impossible to find a single Man Utd fan or journalist who wants / thinks Steve Bruce should be manager at Old Trafford when / if Solskjaer leaves.

If you thought that hypocrisy was bad, then what about this one…

Once again Manchester United fans have been arguably the very most vociferous in saying how shameful Newcastle United fans have been in celebrating the end of over 14 years of Mike Ashley, with the replacement being ambitious new owners, led by the Saudi Arabia PIF buying 80% of the club.

So many Manchester United fans (and those of other clubs) claiming they would stop supporting their club if the Saudis had taken over their club, how they wouldn’t stand for it, would be out demonstrating against these new owners rather than going to matches etc etc.

Well, funnily enough…

Back in 2018 and moving into 2019, it was Man Utd who it was widely reported that the Saudis were trying to buy, with actually Mohammed Bin Salman himself potentially said to be personally going to buy the club, as opposed to through the Saudi PIF as the NUFC takeover has been.

A number of offers were widely reported to have been made as the Glazers held out against the Saudi dictator’s bids, with the issue continuing well on into 2019.

Indeed, it was still going on only a couple of months before Saudi interest in Newcastle United was first reported.

So when it was their club being targeted for a possible Saudi buyout, and by Mohammed Bin Salman himself, obviously Manchester United fans were all manning the barricades demanding that this buyout didn’t go through…

Well, exactly two years ago in October 2019, a newspaper poll asked Manchester United fans whether they supported a buyout by Saudi dictator Mohammed Bin Salman from the Glazer family.

There were 8,302 votes cast by Manchester United fans and it was a staggering clear results with 7,565 (91.12%) versus 737 (8.88%).

Yes those Man Utd supporters really showed Mohammed Bin Salman that there was no way they would accept Saudi ownership…

Hold on though, just checking…, ahhhh, it was actually 7,565 (91.12%) in FAVOUR of a Saudi buyout with only 737 (8.88%) voting against the takeover in this poll of Manchester United fans conducted by The Sun.

Quite amazing isn’t it, how in only two years so many Manchester United fans (and others) have now found such high principles, where they actually claim they would stop supporting their club if under Saudi ownership, when in October 2019 it was so very different. Remember as well that whilst Newcastle had an owner in Mike Ashley who refused to let the club even try and win something, under the Glazers the Manchester United fans have seen 19 trophies won, including the Champions League and multiple Premier League titles.

It is almost as though it is so much easier to criticise when this kind of takeover is happening at another club. When it is hypothetical for fans of other clubs, it isn’t difficult to make out it would be a straightforward choice to stop going to games, stop supporting the club etc etc. It is also very much worth noting that whilst a number of journalists and media haven’t changed their stance at all, for so many others it was / is very different. If you go back a few years the media were treating a possible Saudi buyout of Man Utd in a VERY different way to how they reacted once a possible takeover at Newcastle United might happen.

There again, is this any surprise when it comes to both media and Manchester United fans…

Where have their campaigning, outrage and principles been these past 13 years and counting, with the Saudi regime the longest existing sponsors of Man Utd.

The Saudi regime through the state owned Saudi Telecom have ploughed fortunes into Old Trafford for over 13 years since 2008 and continue to do so.

Then in 2017, Man Utd agreed yet another very lucrative revenue stream from the Saudi regime, ‘the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia’ in partnership with Manchester United.

Whilst advertising and sponsorship deals are of course a smaller affair than an actual takeover of a club, the ‘principle’ remains very much the same. Why have we never heard the media these past 13+ years demanding to know why the Manchester United fans aren’t bothered about seeing their club selling its good name to the Saudi regime in return for serious riches that have helped their club / team win loads of trophies? Surely winning things isn’t more important for Manchester United fans than making a principled stand and refusing to support a club that is giving its implicit backing to a regime with such a poor human rights record?

As Groucho Marx famously said…“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

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