I’ll put my cards on the table.  For all the words spoken and written about the Newcastle United takeover, I haven’t really changed. That is to say what I care about in all of this is exclusively the football club that plays at St James’ Park.

That sounds so profoundly obvious to be stupid but I restate it against a background of noise in opposition to the Saudi-backed takeover (usually from outside of the Newcastle United family)… and responses to that from within it (usually in defence of it).

I only see the Takeover and everyone involved within it in the terms of what they can do to make Newcastle United, much better than it has been and perhaps even propel it into a space it has never been before.

I don’t really care about the fortunes of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, their PCP, Jamie Reuben or anyone attached to them.

I never cared personally about Lord Westwood, Gordon McKeag, Stan Seymour, John Hall, Freddie Shepherd … I’ll confess I had very dark thoughts towards Mike Ashley and the coterie of arseholes he inflicted upon us.

I don’t want to be anyone’s friend or associate at Newcastle United (unlikely a scenario that is in any event) and I’m not going to be fawning over them. I’m not interested in burnishing any kind of relationship with them (I have no reason to do so and don’t think this fanzine will either – we’re proud of our outsider identity) and hold no ambitions to work for them or have any kind of relationship business or otherwise with anyone at SJP.

I’m quite happy, like the vast majority of others to remain a supporter of the club … not Saudi interests or anyone else’s.

So I will never wave a Saudi flag about or defend Saudi Prince whoever because frankly they are irrelevant to me.

The sole reason I’ve welcomed them to the football club I support is because I hope they can be good for Newcastle United. They are a means to an end. Exactly as Newcastle United is for them. I like their money and hope they invest a chunk of it in the club and likewise on the region, I am proud to call home.

But I do not believe they have bought Newcastle United for any other reason that they consider it to be a fantastic investment opportunity (which it is) and that it will align against other strategic operations those in the consortium have and which have been widely discussed here and elsewhere.

Power couple Staveley- Ghodoussi have brokered a deal for one reason – to make money for themselves.

Let’s not kid ourselves they have discovered their inner Mag. Indeed Newcastle United is not the first club Staveley attempted to buy, having failed to purchase Liverpool via the Dubai Investment Capital (DIC) in 2008.

I would imagine their 10% stake in the club has been bought with the expectation the work they will put in and the investment of others (PIF) will be expected to grow exponentionally and when they cash out they will have made a packet. Possibly tens of millions in profit, even more.

The Reubens will have a similar ambition and that might be manifest in other ways e.g. property development in and around the city, Tyneside or perhaps directly via the club in terms of redevelopment (possibly expansion of SJP) or new build and of course the training ground and academy.

There has been lots of speculation about what the Saudis are in it for and much of it focusing on sports-washing etc. I would suggest it is similarly driven by finance and fits into the Saudi state’s 2030 vision, which will be a world with significantly reduced reliance upon oil.

Newcastle United profitability is tiny in that regard but it does offer a global billboard for its brands given the Premier League is the most watched football competition in the world. That was Ashley’s attraction too.

All of that is the reality many supporters have embraced. I don’t blame them.

The aspiration, the likes of me had for a football club owned by supporters or a model of football similar to the Bundesliga is dead in the water. The Premier League is a lief-motif of wild-west capitalism in as pure a form you are likely to see. I reluctantly accepted that reality some time ago, sad as I think that is for English football more widely.

I suppose it’s for that reason we have been surprised at the siren voices raised in opposition to the takeover given the current model of football is absolutely firmly established as the orthodoxy.

I am never going to defend the many human rights violations of the Saudi regime. Why would I? And why would anyone be interested in the views of a Geordie with a Gallowgate End season-ticket on the subject? Saudi Arabia isn’t a country I would recommend to anyone but why is that important?

Again, the only reason we are giving the people who have taken the club out of the cold hands of Mike Ashley any interest at all, is because of what they can do for Newcastle United.

Our club will change over the next few years and perhaps be unrecognisable from what it is now in a decade hence.

Lots of us will welcome change because we can see how our club has been damaged and left behind over the last 14 years. Change happens and the Newcastle United I support now is a completely different one to that I first cast my eyes on, wonder-struck in the early 70s. It should change, it needs to change.

But there should be no blank cheque provided to those who are the new stewards of our football club. They are accountable to us, to you and I. They should be answerable to supporters as to the kind of Newcastle United they create for us, our children and grand-children.

I want Newcastle United to remain a Geordie club at its heart and a cause of local pride – the cap-badge of our identity.

I don’t ever want it to lose its core identity as an appendix to a Saudi economic strategy. This is the club of Tyneside and the North East and not Riyadh’s corporate movers and shakers or Saudi’s politicians.  Newcastle United has soul and it should never lose it. Without that soul, we’re nothing.

Newcastle United is Black & White stripes, black shorts, black socks, St James’ Park, Gallowgate and Leazes Ends, the Magpies … all of which owes its continuing existence to largely working class people in this region.

We own the moral right of ownership to Newcastle United FC. No-one else and we have done so since 1892.

I sense the mood amongst supporters right now is to allow the new ownership privileges it wouldn’t others because we have completed a trade off in our minds about the success and kind of football club we want to see sitting in NE1.

But this is risky as it might mean we are seduced by promises and in turn lose the things we love about our club – its iconography, history, traditions and place within North East life.

I want Newcastle United to be successful. I could never sign up to the anti-Ashley motto of “wanting a club that tries” – that was far too mealy-mouthed and modest for me. I always wanted to support a club that won, that achieved – “well, you tried” is something we hear from parents to their last in the egg and spoon race progeny as the winners walk off with the prizes. Nah, keep the trying bit, I want winning.

But I don’t want Newcastle United to become like Manchester United, where working class kids from Salford can’t get to see the club built up by their forebears or Liverpool where tourists from wherever are considered more valuable than Scouse kids from Bootle etc.

Newcastle United is for everyone in these parts in the very first instance. If we lose sense of that then we are losing something very precious despite what might come in future silverware etc.

That’s not to say, Newcastle United should not be open and welcoming to others. I don’t doubt over time, Newcastle United will become very popular in Saudi Arabia for obvious reasons and perhaps elsewhere in the Middle East. Saudi is a young country with an emerging football culture and it is inevitable a relationship will form. I welcome that.

It is not a bad thing our club changes and we develop a feature involving the development of part of our support with the Saudi people, completely separate from whatever anyone might think of the leaders of that country. That can be good for the club (financially and as a sporting institution) but also for the region we live in.

I don’t doubt that if United starts competing and ..deep breath ..  winning trophies then the support of our club will grow inside and outside of the NE and indeed across the world. That is a fact of life. It explains the global support of Man Utd and Liverpool and others.

We have taken the piss out of the glory-hunting support at Old Trafford on every visit I’ve made there since the 80s but I don’t doubt if things go to plan we’ll have some of that too.

There is so much we hope to gain from the new relationship with those now running Newcastle United.

But I hope we never lose sight of what is precious about Newcastle United and preserve that within how we develop.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

MICHAEL MARTIN