Keep your mails on Newcastle or whatever else coming to email@example.com.
A soul for the Europa League.
It really doesn’t matter how much money Newcastle have.
The worlds best players aren’t going to want to live or play there unless they have zero other options.
If you’re a footballer and you’re told that your best career path is to unfortunately accept murderbloodoil money, you can do that in London, Paris and Manchester already.
Or you can trade lower earnings to live in Madrid, Barcelona, Turin or Munich.
Neymar is not going to live in Newhope. Haaland will not buy a place in Westerhead. Even Robinho would not have signed for Newcastle.
The best they can hope for is second and third tier options who aren’t wanted by the other clubs who traded morality for money but also aren’t based in Newcastle.
For eg: Lampard as manager.
Newcastle fans are understandably delighted to have got rid of Mike Ashley and delighted to now be the richest club in the world, but it’s not going to lead to titles and it means that just like Manchester City and Chelsea fans you are now looked down on by everyone else rather than sympathised with.
Maybe like City and Chelsea fans you’ll pretend not to care, but for them at least the contempt was balanced and diluted by success. Newcastle can hope for top four, but realistically all the loss of their soul has bought them is a chance at the Europa league and the scorn of all other fans everywhere.
Tim Sutton (Newcastle United would also win nothing with Solskjaer)
Well I always said that if (Manchester) United were taken over by the Saudis, as was rumoured prior to the Newcastle takeover, I would stop watching football. Even though it’s a lesser United that’s been taken over I feel like that’s it for me. I’m off to enjoy some less stressful pursuits.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t the only bad thing to happen to English football in its history. From the top clubs conspiring to relegate Spurs over Arsenal, to the FA banning women from playing the sport, clubs floating on the stock exchange, through the creation of the Premier League, excessive wage and transfer inflation, takeovers from oligarchs, the Glazers, Hicks and Gillette, various clubs going out of business, the takeover at City by a corrupt businessman and subsequent sale to human rights abusers, the rise and fall of FFP all the way to the doomed European Super League, there’s always been something existential happening in football. And this list is not exhaustive and doesn’t even begin to touch on things happening outside England like the owners of Rangers ruining the fabric of Scottish football in the 90s, Barcelona’s financial issues and corruption in the top governing bodies leading to World Cups being held in Russia and Qatar. You could even argue – and many will – that this is not comparable to those things, that an injection of foreign cash will be a good thing for the sport, the local area and perhaps even the country. But for me, this is the worst of the bunch and a watershed moment.
There can be no doubt that the current Saudi regime is a bad one in modern standards. No amount of research (sorry Mark) will get away from the fact that the rights of many people in Saudis Arabia are curtailed and state sponsored killings happened in and out of the country. The fact that the Premier League could not (would not?) block this deal based on the Saudi Arabian human rights record alone removes any moral authority the Premier League and any member of it has (in my view I hasten to add, no doubt others will disagree). The excuse given, is that the Premier League could not legally prove that the Saudis own the club. Let that sink in for a second. Essentially as long as you can’t legally prove that they own the club (and could pay for it) North Korea could step in and help United get rid of the Glazers for instance. We can stop low level thugs from owning football clubs but bad business men and/or despot leaders, who can work the system? No problem. Through Shinawatra, Sheik Mansour and now the Saudis (you could arguably include Abramovich for his ties to the Kremlin) the Premier League has consistently missed or ignored chances to protect the moral integrity of its League (not even touching on the other takeovers which haven’t gone so well for other clubs).
Now you may very well argue that there are other owners who are pretty disgusting in their own right who aren’t doing the good things that Sheik Mansour has done for Manchester for example. Indeed, and fair enough. The Glazers for instance, although they are spending (wasting?) money on lots of footballers, are letting the stadium disintegrate and you don’t hear much about what they do community wise (I’m sure they do something, they just don’t make a big deal of it like Sheik Mansour, I wonder why?). And then there’s FSG and Spurs owners who attempted to furlough their staff at the tax payers’ expense. And other assorted baddies throughout Prem history including Mike Ashley, who may well be the worst. This is all fair enough, it’s all shit. But what none of these people do (to the best of my knowledge anyway) includes murder and rights oppression on a countrywide scale. In fact Mike Ashley is probably the closest you could get due to his systematic exploitation of his workers, so I do have sympathy for Newcastle fans.
If you could ignore all the bad stuff this will be great for the league: Newcastle can start being run properly and add to the clubs challenging United and Liverpool, more top quality players from overseas – perhaps they can liberate Spurs from their ideas of being a big club? And great for Newcastle fans as they should now actually win something. Potentially good for the city too with some investment coming in.
But the thing is, to ignore the bad stuff is to lose a bit of your humanity. If that’s ok with you then fine, I wish you well. But for me it’s too much. “But Ash,” I hear you say “racism, anti-semitism, anti-LGBTQ ideology are all already a problem in the game.” Yes they are, and it pains me but they are a reflection of the society we live in and I can’t boycott that (well I could but my wife would leave me). We are all benefiting from deals our glorious leadership has made with the Saudis in the past and now which also annoys me but short of annexing the little bit of land that I own from Britain a la Family Guy I’m not sure I can practically affect that. I don’t need football to survive (no one does) so I can choose to ignore it and not actively sponsor Human Rights oppression in that way.
Many people, especially Newcastle United fans at the moment, can choose to ignore that stuff with very little consideration for the real life human cost. Fair play to you to for making the choice to be “Sportwashed”. You are choosing to ignore all of that stuff in return for an “Aguerooo” moment – as is the Premier League. Ultimately what you’re saying (and I think this is what Mark was saying) is that it doesn’t matter what happens in the owners’ country as long as they make our City nicer.
The irony for me is that I think football probably lost its soul in the year I was born when Spurs floated on the stock exchange. The club I chose to support (same as my dad and his dad) did the same in 1991, a full year before I started taking an interest. So I’m talking about the death of English football now when maybe I’ve known it to be alive?
Anyway, I’ve fully enjoyed Football365 over the years and I hope you keep going as long as English Football does. Maybe stop giving Manchester United so much attention though, they really don’t deserve it.
Ashley (now what?) Metcalfe. PS I’ll probably still read the mail box tomorrow
I am done with the premier league. I suppose I should have been done with it sooner but this is the last straw. Abramovich should have been the last straw, Manchester City fans chanting Sheikh Mansour’s name should have been the last straw and now this. This is who we are now, we don’t care about murderous, oppressive regimes taking over our game as long as we win some football matches.
And then there’s the false equivalency; apparently because my club’s (Liverpool) owners aren’t perfect I shouldn’t criticize other clubs owners which is like saying someone who’s pulled over for speeding shouldn’t criticize a mass-murderer.
There is very little I can do about it, the only thing I can do about it is not support it. I can choose to make sure none of my money goes to supporting this morally bankrupt organisation. It won’t make any difference to the premier league but what else can I do? How can I in good conscience continue to support this league? How can anyone?
The moral vacuum
The Saudi takeover of Newcastle has put the concept of sportswashing well and truly back on the agenda, but the truth is – it appears to me – that it hasn’t been off the agenda this century. And fans of football need to make their minds up, and accept that the sport, at the top of the professional level, has utterly lost its soul.
The next world cup is a farce. There will be an unprecedented mid season break, with the final taking place on December 22nd, next year. And why is this? Because FIFA, in its infinite wisdom, gave the tournament to a country with no footballing history that has a climate that makes a traditional summer tournament literally impossible. Oh, and shall take a moment to thinking of the 6000 people that died building the stadia? Two 9/11s right there, and nobody seems to give a fuck.
And will I watch it? Yes, because I feel like I have a suitable level of disassociation from these human rights abuses, and the tournament will take place whether or not I watch it or not, and I like watching the world cup. And pretty much anyone reading this morally confused ramble will watch it too for similar reasons.
And whilst there will be loads of faux-outrage at the takeover of Newcastle, nearly every one of the high horse sitters would either a) be delighted if a billion quid was about to be spanked on their club, or b) already support a club run on dirty money.
So, make up your mind – accept that the sport is a moral vacuum that keeps us entertained, just as the spectators at the Coliseum were entertained, and accept what that says about you on some level – or go and pick a new sport that hasn’t been raped by capitalism.
It’s as simple as that.
Mat (yes, I am a grumpy mutha fucka who has had a shit week and this is cathartic on some level, sue me)
You’re not kidding anyone
Lots of well thought out mails regarding the Newcastle takeover this morning, I live with a Geordie and I’ve sat through enough matches with him to understand that regardless of all else, he can be mildly optimistic about his football team for the first time in far too long.
The fans have no say in this, he may not like where the money comes from but should he turn off nearly 30 years of loyal support just like that? I’m not so sure I could, and I was born 100 miles from the club I fell for. But that’s fine, we can all appreciate that without turning around anytime someone mentions the appalling human rights situation in Saudi Arabia by asking who’s hands aren’t bloodied.
It’s not even a comparison, it’s a childish retort to say well he did it first so who cares, I know Britain has an awful bloody history, and our present isn’t much better but I’ve never seen the public, state endorsed, stoning of a gay man growing up. My single mother was allowed to drive a car and provide for her children without depending on my awful dad. Boris Johnson is a terrible, soulless human but he never actually cut anyone to pieces with a bone saw because he didn’t like what they were writing. It’s not the same, and you’re not kidding anyone.
Manjo, LFC (Does this also mean we aren’t getting St Maximin?)
*Owen rubs hands together*
Fans of football will perhaps get to see a team of talents gathered from the European clubs that need the transfer fees most, ( to ease their crippling debt ), wearing the iconic Newcastle strip roared on by tons of fans . Coutinho is the obvious one , and others from Barcelona some of the fringe players from Real Madrid perhaps 3 or 4 from the top Italian clubs . Maybe even Kane could all be playing for Newcastle United by this time next year .
That Owen goal celebration of rubbing hands together can poetically symbolize this cash injection into European coffers . I’m a cynical old basturd/ cascarrabias, so the only way I can see this working is if UEFA give 5 places to England in the 2023 revamp of their party.
In the meantime staying up is surely the priority. As it stands they are in danger of relegation. Who do Newcastle want to steer them away from relegation ?
Steve Bruce can count his 8 million chickens before the January transfer window opens but a decent manager is needed immediately to ease the Magpies away from danger. We will soon see who that highly rewarded man will be . First on the agenda is to build a defence worthy of the name .
A Roy Hodgson type organizer with only one window to source defensive recruits .
I suppose Toni Conte seems the best short term fit . Otherwise someone leaping out of their current club mid autumn has a hell of a PR job to be pulled off .
Peter (trying to be positive and not cynical), Andalucia.
A brief history of Jordan
Seeing as how Christian mentioned Simon Jordan, a brief history lesson: whatever he might be now, 20 years ago Simon Jordan sold his (lucrative) business to rescue the football club he had supported for his whole life from administration, when they were on the brink of extinction. He stabilised Crystal Palace to the point that it was able to challenge for and then achieve promotion to the Premier League in short order. He did not do this by spending ridiculous amounts of money. He later spoke out about the influence of agents and the exorbitant fees that clubs handed over to them. He ultimately ended up personally going bankrupt trying to keep the club afloat in the later years of his ownership. Jordan is a lot of things but as a football club owner he had principles and had the club’s best interests at heart. Is that something we can genuinely say about a lot of Premier League club owners?
In some ways, football club owners and managers have to be a bit like parents. The relationships are always different, but the common thread is that there is more to being a good one than simply spending lots of money on expensive toys.
I watched the video by Sarah about managers replacing Ole and thought I’d send a mail. It’s a bit more than just United/ Ole and the arguments heard all the time. I’m fairly ambivalent on it, I don’t mind if he’s replaced, equally don’t mind if he stays until the end of the season – the claim that “any manager in world football” could do a better job is a bit ridiculous though. Plenty of managers have been tried at bigger clubs and failed, just having good players doesn’t always work. The best example of this recently is Niko Kovac with Bayern or Pirlo with Juventus. There’s quite a bit to management.
Second point is on Poch. I don’t know if you’ve been following French football (I don’t mean this as a jab), but PSG are playing extremely disjointed and playing very badly in games, but similarly to United they just have the players to win their moments, and against poorer opposition than in the Premier League. Their defeat to Rennes has been coming and has been tipped by the football they’ve been playing. The City game was actually what Poch is best at and what he was best at Spurs with; counter attacking football. In Brugges when it wasn’t that, he struggled. Against City when it was that, he triumphed. It should also be said that even playing this way, City played brilliantly and a 2-0 victory doesn’t reflect the game (like the games in the league). The idea that Poch is on the same level as Pep or Klopp is actually a bit insulting to those two.
Thirdly, which ties in with the point above, is that it is much easier to play counter attacking football as Everton did against United. Burnley went to Anfield last year and won by doing the same and many teams over the years have. Even Benitez’s Liverpool side were pretty counter attacking. And coincidentally, Ole’s best results for United have been when he has played this way. It’s the easiest way to play: sit compact, close the spaces and force crosses from deep, counter at speed when they start to pile bodies forward. The difference is top teams can’t really play that way and where Ole struggles.
I do agree that there are managers who would do better than Ole, I just don’t think your examples of Poch and Benitez carries weight. Enrique, Flick and Mancini are the three best managers besides from Pep, Klopp and Tuchel. Pretending that anyone else is “guaranteed” to do a better job with United is wrong, it’s not guaranteed. Only those six would be the guarantee, the rest are a punt.
Footballers and vaccines
Jerry raised an interesting question in the mailbox yesterday. I’ll attempt to answer it with wild speculation and zero facts.
I don’t think it’s too surprising that professional footballers aren’t all getting vaccinated, the current argument for ‘the young’ get vaccinated is more of a ‘for the greater good’ argument. The get the top of their profession, ahead of literally millions of other people, there needs to have been some level of selfishness and dedication to their own body, so this argument isn’t great. It doesn’t take a huge amount of doubt for someone in the absolute peak of fitness and health to weigh up the pros and cons and decide their better off not bothering. I don’t agree with that decision, but it’s understandable. Tennis very much has the same issue right now btw.
The answer here, is something we (most humans) aren’t very good at anymore. We need to adjust our stance, accept a different viewpoint and try and convince these prime athletes that it’s in their interests to get the vaccine. We seem more interested in arguing with people than persuasion these days, and it doesn’t work. At this point of the covid cycle, yelling “IF YOU DON’T THE VACCINE MY GRAN MIGHT DIE” isn’t likely to work. Accept that someone doesn’t care if your Gran dies, and find a way to make in their interests.
If I were in charge of this issue, I’d just commission some platinum Gucci needles, rebrand the vaccine something sexier, charge people £20,000 a shot, and you’d have premier league footballers queueing round the block.
Jeremy (there’s a reason I’m not in charge) Aves