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English media latest attack on Newcastle United owners – New extreme lengths with double standards

3 weeks ago
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For almost two years, we watched on as the prospective new Newcastle United owners made the headlines.

Once the takeover actually happened, the coverage was only ever going to get even more intense.

I don’t have a problem with that, the Premier League is a total joke when it comes to who is and isn’t allowed to take over football clubs in this country, so when the new Newcastle United owners, or at least part of the ownership, comes with so much baggage, journalists are entitled to question why they are allowed to.

The answer to that question boils down to pretty much this…the UK Government and the Premier League rules don’t see any reason for the new Newcastle United owners not to be able to buy the club from Mike Ashley.

Anyway, the debate about human rights, sportswashing and so on has continued regarding Saudi Arabia and the identity of Newcastle’s owners, a lot of it fair comment and reasonable, a lot of it not so – especially when it comes to trying to the one group of people who have no say in who owns a football club in the Premier League, the fans.

Anyway, the latest English media tirade on the Newcastle United owners, has now gone with a different plan of attack…

Ian Herbert writing for The Mail about Newcastle United and Yasir Al-Rumayyan:

‘Where is Newcastle United’s new chairman?

‘Why the reluctance to answer questions?

‘What could he have to hide?’

‘There is no suggestion that Al-Rumayyan had any involvement in or knowledge of the operation to murder Khashoggi. But it requires little imagination to know what kinds of questions he will be fielding if he pitches up in the little St James’ Park press conference room, any time soon.’

‘Al-Rumayyan will be pleased to see how effectively his new football manager rebutted questions about the source of his club’s money. Sky Sports certainly gave it a good go on Wednesday but fresh-faced Howe is an accomplished media operator. As one writer put it: ‘Had he walked into his inaugural press conference as Newcastle United manager carrying a mop and bucket he could not have done a better job of cleaning up behind the ownership issue.’

‘So let’s be having you, Your Excellency. Where are you? And what do you have to hide?’

As I say above, I have no problem with journalists questioning why the kind of people who own the likes of Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Newcastle United, Wolves, Southampton, Everton and so on, should be allowed to do so. When the money comes from places such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Iran and so on, or the shocking way the Glazers were allowed to buy Man Utd, should these people be allowed to own our football clubs?

However, this latest from Ian Herbert (who is usually very decent as a journalist) in The Mail, is something different.

He is now making out that the English media should have the right to question those at the very top of a football club, the owners, about their entitlement to own their various clubs AND whatever issues about their backgrounds that they (English media) might want answers on.

This is where ‘double standards’ come in for me, when have journalists ever had regular / any access to those at the very top of the ownership of Premier League clubs?

I must have somehow missed the weekly interviews where Roman Abramovich made himself available to answer any questions the English media might have about his ‘interesting’ background, whilst I got absolutely sick and tired of Malcolm Glazer putting himself up for questioning on how he bought Man Utd.

The same with tax exile and Joe Lewis, I bet loads of you reading this don’t even realise that he is the billionaire owner of Tottenham. When have you seen Sheikh Mansour meeting up for open interviews with English journalists – he personally bought Man City, whereas with Newcastle it is the Saudi PIF of which Yasir Al-Rumayyan is Governor, that own 80% of NUFC. Yasir Al-Rumayyan has the title of chairman of Newcastle United but he has a massive number of different investments through the Saudi PIF that he has responsibility for and it was always known that Amanda Staveley would be the one running the club on a day to day basis, as boss of a team of professionals to run the business side, a team of professionals that all need to be recruited because Mike Ashley ran the club without any.

Which brings us to the ultimate absolute double standards at play with this latest attack on the Newcastle United owners.

For fourteen and a half years Mike Ashley owned Newcastle United BUT never made himself available for any proper open interview. There was the odd shameful episode where the likes of Sky Sports and The Mail (ironically) allowed Mike Ashley an open platform to simply put out laughable PR sham ‘interviews’, with no questioning whatsoever. Probably the most shameful was that Martin Samuel one where he facilitated the shameful Ashley attack on Rafa Benitez in July 2019, the then NUFC owner attempting to ridicule Benitez and make out he was only driven by greed.

Where were the English media these past 14+ years demanding an audience with Mike Ashley to justify his shameful running of Newcastle United…?

It gets even better because whilst in the first year of his NUFC ownership Chris Mort did make himself regularly available for interviews, once he left the media had almost zero access to those that followed Mort as Newcastle United CEO / MD, with the entire second half of the Mike Ashley ownership from April 2014 seeing Ashley not allow Lee Charnley to do a single proper interview. The only couple / few exceptions saw journalists only allowed to ask Ashley’s puppet questions on very limited areas. Yet, absolutely no proper major outcry from the English media about how Mike Ashley was refusing to allow the media any real access whatsoever, to those in any position of authority at Newcastle United, as well as Lee Charnley…

Journalists have a right to question why the Newcastle United owners and those owning other PL clubs are allowed to do so BUT there is absolutely no precedent in these past 20 years or so certainly, once the likes of Abramovich and others were allowed to do as they please with English football, where journalists have had open regular access, if any at all, to those at the top of our premier football clubs.

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