It’s been looking like this for a while now. It isn’t unexpected. The longer the wait, the more the likelihood that those who have worked to oppose the Newcastle United takeover have had their way!
Let us be absolutely 100% crystal clear however, whatever the merits of allegations against the Saudis in regards human rights abuses – that has played absolutely no part in this takeover not happening. So Miguel Delaney might have a hard on about this but it has had fuck all to do with hypocritical liberal distaste for whatever goes down in Saudi and he has been irrelevant as have other hand-wringing phonies in the media.
I am not over-stating my inside track on all of this but I can say confidently where the blame for this takeover lies and it is four square with the Premier League. They have bent the Owners & Directors Test completely out of shape. Whatever the PL has been doing it certainly has not been protecting the interests of Newcastle United. That could not have been further from their considerations. The test exists to protect clubs – this is a grotesque distortion of that.
This episode also begs the question of the integrity of the Premier League as an open competition and the insidious corrupting influence of the Qatar state broadcaster, beIN and indeed other PL clubs who have viewed a serious, powerful Newcastle United with about the same enthusiasm as a second wave of COVID-19. I am attempting to hold back from describing the PL as a cartel, a syndicate of self interests. More of the activities of certain clubs in working to block this deal will come out in the next few weeks I’m sure and I look forward to that happening and the grotesque reality of English football shown for what it is – rotten to the core.
Some of you will remember I wrote a blog on this website some time ago – click here which expressed serious concern at the conduct of the Premier League and its relations to beIN without whom it has far too close a relationship and who exert far too much control over the English game’s top division. Sadly all of those fears have proven well-founded I am desperately sorry to say.
Let us walk through the PL’s conduct over these last four months.
Firstly, the leaks – this has supposed to have been a highly confidential process but it has been anything but. I would like to put it to Bill Bush of the Premier League that he has briefed several journalists with information designed to strike PR blows at the takeover and attract negative media to the Saudi element of the Staveley consortium. I would like to hear how he responds to questions he has worked closely with the Qataris to do everything possible to obstruct this bid. That he has been part of their invisible choreography of opposition.
Let’s be absolutely crystal clear – if the PL wished to block the bid on the basis of TV piracy they could have done so and months ago. But they have chosen not to do so and instead have allowed the clock to tick on a bid which by their correct calculation would time out by running down the bid’s exclusivity period. Over four months has been ample time to make a decision. They have not done so for their own purposes. This has been calculated and deliberate in my opinion. I would suggest it has been done with the full connivance of the Qataris.
This is what your gob-shite fanzine has learned:
The Premier League wanted Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to be considered as a director of the Public Investment Fund and thus be placed within the scope of the Owners & Directors Test. Clearly, that would be completely unconscionable for the Saudis and in its own way offensive to the Saudi royal family and state. I can only guess why the PL would behave that way and it seems to me they could find nothing in the backgrounds of those named as the proposed directors so they have sought to present terms which they knew would be completely unacceptable.
We have also learned that the Premier League wished to insert terms into any agreement linked to the Owners & Directors Test that would have allowed them to have such power over the Staveley consortium to allow them to withdraw consent under the PL Owners & Directors Test as they saw fit and as such completely undermine the value of United and undermine their investment in it.
No-one in their right mind would have accepted those terms, which is why I guess they were presented to them as such.
But before I go further, let’s consider what we have lost here. We understand £250m was ear-marked by way of investment into United over the next two seasons. That United won’t get that investment is a tragedy for the football club but it does not end there.
There is also the loss of massive investment in and around Tyneside as well as the wider NE connected to the Saudi intention to diversify and build for their post-carbon future. Anyone who understands what the Man City owners have done for huge swathes of Manchester by way of regeneration will appreciate the heartbreaking loss of investment into our weak and neglected region.
That is what the manoeuvrings of the Premier League with the connivance of the Qataris and no little encouragement from other PL clubs have cost Newcastle United and the communities around it. Understandably, Sunderland fans can laugh about the huge, historic blow this represents for Newcastle United but they should not under-estimate what they have lost too in their lives outside the race to the bottom world of NE football rivalry.
What of Mike Ashley?
He is not wholly innocent. Information provided claims Ashley has attempted to wring a further £50m from the Staveley bid on the back of the nonsense bid from Henry Mauriss – which I’d suggest no-one offers any credence to whatsoever. Whether he is attempting to milk further concessions from other buyers by way of merchandise, sponsorship should in no way be discounted and if you need any persuasion that is within his capabilities have a word with any passing Rangers fan if you get the opportunity.
But back to the Premier League and their conduct over this. There are serious questions to be asked regards their relationship with Qatar – a nation it has sold TV rights to despite their industrial levels of corruption in taking the 2022 World Cup, the deaths of hundreds of virtually slave workers to build stadia and the tentacles they have wrapped around FIFA.
What happens next?
I don’t see anything left in this bid though that is perhaps my negativity right now. I don’t see how the Saudis can be insulted any further by a Premier League which is completely compromised by its relationship with Qatar.
I don’t see any credibility in the Mauriss bid and frankly view him with great suspicion. Nothing I see in him appears credible to me and he seems in every way the continuity candidate for Mike Ashley.
Does Ashley want to sell? I believe he does.
In its current state – with Ashley, Bruce et al, is it worth supporting? Not in the slightest. It isn’t Newcastle United, it is a hollowed out version and an insult to competitive values.
How do we recover from this?
I’ve no idea. But I do know this – Newcastle United and the communities in this region that have sustained it count for nothing in this – the Owners & Directors Test has been used as cover to serve the vested interests of Qatar and other PL clubs. It leaves a very sour taste in the mouth and further questions about the integrity of English football.
Friends, you can take or leave the stuff as above. I’m not going to argue with anyone about it because I haven’t got the heart for it.
All the best