English football should feel lucky the Saudis chose Newcastle

Date published: Friday 8th October 2021 9:54 - Editor F365

Newcastle fans react to the confirmation of the club's Saudi-backed takeover.

Keep your mails coming in over the weekend to theeditor@football365.com


Tips for Toon from a City fan
Some thoughts for Newcastle United fans from someone who went down this road in 2008.

Learn about your owners and the wider Middle East. Educate yourself. Read widely. Start with the Battle of the Camel in 656 AD. Carry on until OPEC and beyond. Not only is education good in itself, but you will soon start to be able to differentiate between genuine issues that must be addressed and the prejudices and half truths of people with agendas, some of whom started out as football writers but now presume themselves to be experts in law, accounting and international geopolitics, but are actually perfect examples of Dunning-Kruger syndrome. But unless you know your stuff, it’s difficult to counter them. You know where the library is.

About that justified criticism. Newcastle will have to deal with the fate of Jamal Khashoggi. I have already seen pictures of club branded bone saws. Manchester City have never had to deal with such a personalised, relatable example of a shocking human rights abuse. Is that because City have been lucky or because the UAE and Saudi Arabia are qualitatively different on human rights? In truth, it’s a bit of both, but the blunt reality is that one of these countries is easier to defend than the other and that isn’t going to change any time soon. For the avoidance of any doubt, the UAE is not a democracy and human rights are conditional which means they aren’t really human rights at all.

As for the unjustified criticism, remember that this is horrific news for the American-owned PL clubs whose Champions League berths will come under threat soon from a club that is likely not just to be wealthy but also very well run, and they won’t be discouraging their fans from saying some pretty ignorant stuff, but your club is now is disruptor and in the firing line so you’ll have to live with a vast amount of ignorant bile. The good news is that the vast majority of it is online and in real life, you will have almost no issues. There’s also the racism. We have normalised the fact that a long standing club owner made his money from peddling grot. But he’s white, English and his club isn’t a threat. Don’t expect to be treated fairly.

Law and accounting. It’s a small point, but your ownership is much more akin in its structure to PSG than City, a club that is not state-owned but is owned by someone with a blitheringly obvious connection to a state. Does that matter? Yes, but also no. The good news is that you have bought at a good time and are unlikely to have the same problems that City had with FFP. Put extremely bluntly, Barcelona and several Italian clubs need your money more than they want to keep a peasant out of the palace. If you want a centre forward, it might be worth picking up the phone to Spurs in January. I wonder if they might be a smidgen more receptive to a realistic bid now than they were in the summer.

Women’s football, engagement with Jewish and LGBTQ fan groups, respect for the club’s history and community and charitable engagement and investment in the city are also reasonable heuristics to judge an owner on. Ashley obviously failed on all these and I have no doubt the new owners will not only do far better but will also run an entertainment business more efficiently and cheerfully. That’s not something to be traded for human rights, but it is still something. At my club, some of its biggest critics find it impossible to acknowledge the self-evident investment in the area around The Etihad since 2008. That’s a real tell.

You need a manager. Roberto Mancini is available in 2023 and I think he’s a realistic target. If you can’t get him, you need someone with exactly the same skillset. A clever tactician who gets English football and the fans of Northern clubs, who will live in the City and will also be an incessantly demanding tyrant who can turn a losing culture into a winning one. He also prioritises cup competitions. I would spend the next two seasons preparing the squad for his, or his clone’s ,arrival because without Mancini, City would be nowhere near where they are now. Personally, if he was offered this job after the World Cup, I think he would find it incredibly difficult to turn down.

You will know the precise moment that you are succeeding. Instead of your club being a fun, benign story and a bit of a joke, the coverage will turn sharply negative. We are assured that the endless coincidences of negative stories about City breaking on the day of a big match or the night we go top of the league are just that. Almost no City fan believes that any more.

Finally, enjoy the ride. Have fun, enjoy the victories and be generous in defeat. The sweetness of us oiks beating a member of the establishment never dulls. It won’t for you either.
Mark Meadowcroft – supporter of Newcastle United’s poor relation


…Big day for Man City fans, we no longer have the most morally questionable ownership in the premier league. In fact, next to Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi’s human rights record looks down right progressive.
Ryan, MCFC (as long as you overlook China owning a piece of the team.)


F365 Says: Saudi takeover washes away Newcastle sentiment


…Dear Geordies

You can be glad your beloved team will now be able to compete whilst believing the Saudis are human rights violators.

You can admit your Club is more important to you than the rights of investigative journalists.

People don’t have to agree. But you can admit it. That’s fine.

Just own where it is you’re drawing your own line.

Be honest
Lawrence, Chelsea, hypocrite


…I find it hilarious that the media is protesting the new Saudi owners buying Newcastle.

How they close their eyes to Formula One hosting a race in Saudi Arabia later this year.

How they close their eyes to the WWE accepting a $50 million cheque for hosting a pro wrestling event there every year.

Boxing is also trying to get in on the action.

I am listening to Simon Jordan on Talksports, running his mouth off about how bad this is for English Football.

English Football is lucky these rich Oil-garchs chose England as a place to spend their money.

As a Gooner I can only be a little jealous, why didn’t they buy my team.
Christian Toronto Canada


…I imagine you have been, and will continue to be, inundated with letters about the Newcastle takeover, so here’s another one for good measure.

I don’t think it’s fair, or even relevant, to get at Newcastle fans for this. It is something that has happened regardless of them, and with no involvement from them. They shouldn’t have to stop supporting their club, and the moral vindication should not fall on them when it has been passed by so many of us in this and so many other walks of life. Furthermore, I can even see the sense in the argument condoning the Saudi government effectively buying a football club. The Qataris have, the UAE have. Most, if not all, of the current billionaire class of owners are scrupulous people to say the least, including the former Mike Ashely. Where should the line be drawn? I mean, clearly the Saudi government is a line, given the current war (read; destruction) they are involved in, but what country doesn’t have a chequered past? Even the country in which the Premier League resides doesn’t have the cleanest of records.

No, the main culprit and entity deserving of the lion’s share of scrutiny is the Premier League. The Premier League is a greedy cesspool of inflated egos and even bigger pockets. All it cares about is money, and the creation of more money. The ‘fit and proper’ test is a joke, a title printed on a sheet of paper used to wipe the arse of billionaires. The only thing stopping the takeover was money, and the stolen money from pirated games. But that’s fixed now, so welcome to the club! Literally, for all of those fans (Newcastle and others) and every single person within the game who constantly chimes the note that politics don’t belong in football, can in no way endorse this move. You literally had one state (Saudi Arabia) which was banning the broadcast of another state’s (Qatar) television network. This was entirely political. And then, because it meant the Saudi government could not buy an English football club, they have now relented on this, and have stopped the ban. Literally; international politics was involved in allowing this deal to take place! What the actual f*ck? The Premier League is literally pointless, because it does nothing to stop anything, except when it comes to losing money.
Neill, Ireland


…From a totally selfish perspective I don’t really want Saudi Arabia taking over Newcastle because more and more it means that everyone now needs a state backed sponsor to have a realistic chance of competing. Liverpool’s owners will have no hope if this results in another period of insane football inflation.

I also wonder if the whole of football will become a weird proxy war with different states buying players or making moves to show off their power or influence compared to some other state backed club.

That all said, it’s probably going to be lovely for Newcastle fans and after the shite they’ve been through I think they’ll take this over Mike Ashley. If the Saudis do a load of regeneration work in the same way that the Rulers of Abu Dhabi did in Manchester then it could be positive for a lot of people in the North East.

Of course you can argue that the money is soaked in blood but I feel like that’s a bullsh*t western argument in which we pretend that our history isn’t equally blood stained or that our political leaders and financial elite can’t go to courts for gag orders to suppress news they don’t like.
Minty, LFC


…Ashley’s reign of terror is over at last, hurray! Oh hang on.. you’ve gotten rid of The Grinch and Actual Satan himself has come in to take over?

This takeover is not good news. I’m sorry Newcastle fans. It’s a tragedy. For human rights, for innocent people who have been murdered, for women, for the LGBTQ community, for so many more. If you don’t know what I mean, please have a read of Barney Ronay’s piece in The Guardian.

Reading some of the Newcastle fans comments, I am shaking my head. Fans claiming that it’s not their business to worry about human rights, it’s not their business to worry about what happens in Saudi Arabia. This takeover doesn’t just highlight how evil people can control the masses, it highlights that the average person couldn’t really care less about the plight of others. ‘My football team might be slightly less shit? Sorted, fuck them’. Football should be the most important of the least important things.
Damo, Dublin


…F365 editor asks “Can Newcastle fans support their club but not owners?”

Answer: The last 14 years suggests they can, yes.!


Toon Bobby
Belgium lost again against all odds! A manager who has no clue. Newcastle are cash rich! You know what happens next!
Luke (Ha Ha Steve Bruce)


Not rocket surgery
For the likes of Big D in Luxembourg and the many others who seem to want to use this as a stick to beat Ole (because why not, it’s F365 national sport), let me make this simple. And this applies to most big clubs.

The manager will (with his team) identify positions that need addressing, and may recommend players to fill them. Scouts will offer views on potential player options and recommend some to fill those positions too.

The Board (or their appointed person) then sets about agreeing targets and trying to secure that person, based on those reports and the budget agreed with Board and Manager (and possibly Director of Football where there is one).

What that means is this: Ole didn’t fail to sign a CDM or Rice this year, just as he didn’t fail to sign Sancho last year. He identified and agreed positions and targets, but it’s out of his hands as to whether they are landed. He now has to try and turn the new Djemba Djemba or Kleberson that is Fred into something useable as a CDM. Which frankly is an impossible task, not helped by Carrick being anywhere near discussions about what a good CDM looks like.

And in addition he got someone else unplanned (and while it’s wonderful to have CR7 and his impact on the squad, it very much wasn’t needed) that he now has to accommodate while not screwing his plans and Greenwood’s development. Bit like when Abramovic signed Shevchenko.

Hope that helps

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claps the fans

The golden years
Okay I’ll try. My submission is 1999 to 2011 were the golden years.

Apologies if this sounds like an ATP Tennis Tour advert.

It starts with the blind Venetian letting Le Tissier through his legs, to a mad Frenchman in goals.

It’s the treble, with United seemingly down and out and then completing their greatest ever season within a blink of the eye.

It’s the demise of the Dons. Ipswich getting a European run. Leeds almost conquering Europe.

It’s Keane turning Haaland Snr inside out.

It’s elbows allowed and Shearer and Viduka flourishing.

It’s the fake treble.

It’s Gerrard against United and a despairing bald Barthez diving. To Gerrard in grey kissing the camera at Old Trafford.

It’s Henry against United and the subsequent ‘wazzzzzzup’ celebration.

It’s Ljungberg with his pink streak. Bergkamp and the Arsenal sporting a Dreamcast logo.

It’s Wayne Rooney in Everton Blue. And James Milner in Leeds white.

It’s Roman Abramovich. It’s Glen Johnson, Jesper Gronkjaer, Seba Veron, Adrien Mutu and Mateja Kezman.

It’s Van Nistelrooy for 19.5m. It’s Drogba for 24m.

It goes from peroxided Becks to shaved-head Becks to the wounded and benched Becks. Then to Real Madrid Becks.

And then there was Liga BBVA on our screens.

It’s Zidane’s left foot against Ballack’s Leverkusen. It’s Mourinho running down the touchline at Old Trafford. It’s Porto against Morientes and Giuly. It’s 3-3 and then Dudek.

It’s the ghost goal.

It’s the rise of Messi. The rise of the winker.

It’s the Brazilians sambaing all the way to Korea and Japan and Back. It’s Rivaldo, Ronaldo; and Ronaldinho’s freekick floating over Seaman without his ponytail.

It’s Michael Owen crawling off the field at the World Cup.

It’s Fergie versus Wenger. Rafa versus Mourinho. Mourinho versus Wenger, now dubbed the Voyeur.

It’s Keane versus Vieira. Vieira versus Keane. It’s Dyer versus Bowyer.

It’s Tiny Wright-Phillips as the next best thing. It’s Stephen Ireland in his underwear.

It’s super Kevin Phillips. It’s Jimmy Floyd wearing Boro’s red. Not to mention Massimo Maccarone.

It’s Kevin Keegan sitting so deep in his chair in the dugout and just watching City get battered. It’s Sven first and then Mark Hughes in charge of a floundering City.

It’s Tevez and Mascherano rocking up at West Ham. It’s Tevez versus United.

It then became Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez playing together.

It’s when Andy Carroll could still walk. It’s Woy leading Fulham to a European final on the back of Clint Dempsey.

It was Leeds ‘til I die, and a crying little boy.

Those were the days, my friend.

Wik, Pretoria (can’t we just finish the season in April and then schedule all the internationals for May and June?), LFC


Srikers making great managers
Kenny daglish – won plenty with Liverpool then won the title with blackburn as well.

Roberto Mancini – won cities first title. Won trophies with inter and Italy.

Bobby Robson – won trophies in Holland, Portugal, Spain.

That’s a couple of the top of my head, I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting
I think maybe the United fan who said that was really looking for some way to absolve ole, but unfortunately it’s just not true. Playing or non playing doesn’t matter, position doesn’t matter. Only the willingness to learn the tenacity to stick with it and the balls to make big calls is really what makes a manager good.


Messi and Lukaku together
Imagine lukaku playing as a target ahead of Messi. Messi would have a field day rolling passes into lukakus feet for one-twos while he holds off center backs, allowing Messi shots on goal. We’ve seen him do this 8000 times over his career.

Obviously this was never realistic, I’m just writing this based off of lukakus target play in the Belgium France game and Messis first goal for PSG. I also know lukakus first touch sucks (for a professional), but it’d come off several times per game still I imagine.

Happy Friday,
Pete, Cape Cod USA (Messi and Ashley Barnes would be cool too)

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