Unless we are all about to be had off on a global scale, Newcastle United is going to pass into the ownership the Saudi Arabian PIF, the Reuben Bros and Amanda Staveley (PCP). Mike Ashley is soon to be history. Whether it’s tomorrow, next week or the end of April, it’s happening.

As expected the media is all over it and that’s understandable. What is very difficult for those in the media is the degree of omerta on both sides of the deal. Without any quotes or real news beyond that 31-page PDF document submitted to Companies House, they are scrambling around looking for angles that will generate clicks and feed their websites in order to generate advertising revenue etc.

However, at this point, most of what they are writing is complete rubbish.  

Let’s go through the gears with some of the big ticket items being punted to the masses as news.

We’ll start with the Premier League Owners and Directors Test. Several news-lines are building this up into something it isn’t, a potential hurdle to be negotiated which might cause the collapse of the whole takeover. Be nervous Geordies. Utter shite.  No-one in this consortium is going to fail that test. If you are as dull as me and want to understand what the test actually is just click here and go to Section F

These are the rules. They may not be the rules some people might want but they are the rules which those purchasing and becoming directors of PL clubs have to meet.

No-one in the consortium about to take over Newcastle United will fail that test.

I think they will have checked all of that before now and they will have expected the Premier League’s scrutiny. That’s just an assumption on my part.

None of the shite being written about this being an obstacle to get round means a thing. It is pure invention designed to get you to click. It is not serious coverage. It is complete crap.

Any journalist worthy of the description should have been all over this and concluded the words used to write about could be best deployed elsewhere.

We’ve also heard some coverage related to human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. No person of conscience would seriously overlook this. However, we the supporters of Newcastle United, being teed up by journalists to object to the takeover really matter here. All about the empty headlines and clicks to satisfy their bosses.

We don’t have a say. Just like we didn’t have a say when Prince Charles attended the funeral of  King Abdullah of the House of Saud with the Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015. No-one on the Gallowgate End was consulted when the UK tacitly declared a period of national mourning either – click here

No Leazes Enders were asked to object to the visit of Saudi Royal Prince Mohammed Bin Salaman in 2018 where he met the Queen for lunch and stayed with Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers. Click here 

In 1985 when I was a bit thicker of hair and thinner of waist and on The Benches in the East Stand, the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Bandar bin Sultan Al negotiated the Al-Yamamah arms deal  with British Aerospace (now BAE Systems). I have no recollection of being asked my opinion on the matter nor what the subsequent £43bn in revenue for BAE Systems means to the UK economy. I do not recall the local politicians in the parliamentary constituencies which manufacture these weapons being asked about how they are used in the Yemen. Nor are the workers employed in the manufacture of this weaponry either.

I should note that the UK along with the US is the largest exporter of arms and weaponry to Saudi Arabia in the world. BAE systems employ 33,000 people in the UK which obviously doesn’t include the supply chain which might account for a further 70,000 let alone the Multiplier Impact of their spending power in the economy and the associated benefits. Like others I’ve noted the comments of human rights campaigners with SR post-codes whose activities and concerns have been unknown to us. Fair enough, you learn new things every day. They might be interested in reminding themselves that Princess Anne opened the BAE Systems plant in Washington, Tyne & Wear following a £70m investment. BAE systems in Washington directly employ 350 people (considerably more than those employed by Newcastle United) and they are involved in the development and manufacture of arms and weaponry, some of which I think we can safely assume finds its way to Saudi Arabia.

350 full time, well-paid skilled jobs directly via BAE Systems in Washington and likely another e.600 in the supply chain.

I’m confident those of the Red & White persuasion who are currently affecting disdain at Newcastle United’s imminent Saudi led takeover, will soon be forming protest groups to demand the closure of the BAE Systems plant in Washington, the redundancy of 350 workers and more in the supply chain and happily lose all of the economic benefits Wearside gains from this plant. I’ll keep an eye on how that goes and the response of local MPs and the City of Sunderland council. 

After all, although the Saudi purpose in buying Newcastle United could be described as Sportswashing, the actual physical manufacture of things that kill people for a brutal regime is quite something different isn’t it? 

Anyone in The Milburn remember being consulted about the sale of the 45 room Knightsbridge mansion owned by the Saudi royal family which might rake in £210m? Click here

Or many more property deals involving prime London real estate?

Obviously I’m being sarcastic.

This isn’t real concern at human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. It is another angle being worked by an over-saturated football media desperate for clicks. Anyone recall Prince Charles or the Queen being taken to task over their fawning in front of the Saudis? Of course not. It is nonsense on stilts.

Amnesty International has a historic and noble cause of supporting victims of oppression around the world. If asked about the Saudis completing any kind business deal in the UK they will of course make the comments they have. Who would seriously expect otherwise? Their comments were predictable.

But in terms of the wider global activities of the Saudis buying Newcastle United FC is rather at the vanilla end of the scale and we as supporters being expected to react with shock and anger at the prospect of them owning our football club given the geo-political landscape upon which we are speck is rather pushing it a bit isn’t it?

Ignoring the likely impact the Saudis can have upon local morale, economic regeneration in uncertain times on a region which is often ignored is something different. These people don’t give a flying one about us, our community and our lives let alone our football club.

Forgive me for raising an eye-brow (not quite with the panache of Senor Ancelotti) at all this pearl clutching. The global connections between the UK, US, EU and the Middle East are historic and lucrative. The Saudis are a vital ally in a region of the world known for conflagration. The increasing involvement of nation states and private interests in sport from the Middle East is well-established and there is evidence of that all over Europe and the UK.

This is so widespread it is no longer a story.

I read this piece in The Guardian today by Barney Ronay click here in which the supporters of Newcastle United were referred to as useful idiots (nice bit of Lenin phraseology there Barney) because we’re largely happy our club appears to be moving onto  a platform (that none of us had a role in constructing)  where it can compete and possibly start fulfilling its potential. We didn’t invent that environment but we do recognize what is needed to thrive within it. Does Barney prefer us to play the role of perennial under-achievers, the loyal unrewarded fans of that historic failing football club in the NE of England? Perhaps he does because I’m going to make a leap here and say Barney Ronay doesn’t really give a fuck about Newcastle United or the region in which it is set.

Then there is the laughable description of Newcastle United as a community club. Does he really mean simply it is one supported by those with a ready Geordie identity? It can only be that because over my lifetime none of Lord Westwood, Gordon McKeag, Sir John Hall or Mike Ashley could be anyway described as connected to the ebb and flow of a working class people for which scalp pulling disappointment and dismay have oft-been the most common emotion involving Newcastle United.

But still despite the realties of the world outside the trivialities of football, Barney Ronay and others like him got their column inches hand-wringing at the failure of those lumpen-proles on Tyneside to see things the same way he does, regardless of how one-dimensional and reactionary it actually is. It was off-pat, unimaginative, knock it out in 20 minutes stuff.

False consciousness eh? There’s a lot of it going round.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

MICHAEL MARTIN