Brilliant emotional statement from St James Park MP backing Newcastle United takeover
The Newcastle United takeover is finally, incredibly, here.
After what appeared set to be a never ending saga without a successful conclusion, it all came together in a matter of hours…culminating in thousands of Newcastle fans celebrating into the night outside St James Park.
St James Park in bang in the middle of the city centre, as 99.9% who are reading this will well know.
Therefore St James Park is part of the Newcastle Central parliamentary constituency, with MP Chi Onwurah representing her city centre constituents, including the occupiers / owners of Newcastle United.
Chi Onwurah has been a brilliant campaigner (along with other local MPs such as Ian Mearns) on behalf of Newcastle United fans, as well as campaigning on many other issues that impact both on her constituents and the general public.
No surprise then at all, that with this Newcastle United takeover finally going through and Chi’s many years of campaigning for Mike Ashley to go, that she has been challenged by people in terms of supporting a change from Mike Ashley to the Saudi PIF led new ownership.
A superb emotional statement from the St James Park MP explaining her backing for this change and an admission that like so many of us, she / we accept that there are countless valid debating points regarding both the identity of the new ownership AND also in general, the reality of who owns Premier League clubs in this era.
Statement from Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central on Newcastle United takeover via her MP site – 7 October 2021:
‘For Newcastle United fans – who make up the majority of my constituents – the last few years have been an agony of frustration, disappointment and deception, further poisoned by the undisguised contempt of the club’s owner and the Premier League for fans’ hopes and investment in the club. We need to ensure proper regulatory oversight of football so that this does not happen again.
Fans do not get any say in football clubs’ ownership and I have campaigned with many of you against the actions on Mike Ashley and strongly condemned the role of the Premier League. I know that the end of the Ashley era is a day of celebration and joy for many.
This takeover is not only about Newcastle but Saudi Arabia, whose sovereign fund provides the majority of the financing. Many of us are horrified by the human rights record of Saudi Arabia which stands in direct opposition to the values of our city.
I understand the new owners believe this investment is a sign of change and a desire to open up on the part of Saudi Arabia and I hope that is true. I recognise the power of sport to communicate and bring people together, but as an anti Apartheid activist for many years, I believe sport is political. Certainly, this takeover has shown that.
Football governance is broken as highlighted by the disastrous plans for a European Super League. Labour has long called for reform including proper independent regulation, an ongoing owners and directors test and an opportunity to get fans on boards so they can have a say in the club they love.
Newcastle United fans are not the ones responsible for dictating the terms by which football club takeovers are decided or for regulating the global financial system which has seen the Saudi government and royal family make extensive investments in many sectors of the economy including Uber, Twitter and McClaren. It is for government to set out the appropriate regulatory frameworks.
Whilst many will be overjoyed at the outcome the fact remains that for 14, 550 working families in Newcastle Central, this week’s most significant announcement will be the Government’s cut of £20 per week from Universal Credit.’
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