The anger at the conduct of the Premier League in regard to the Staveley-led bid to take over Newcastle United shows no sign of abating and in fact is now growing legs which can only be a very good thing.

For me most positively, supporters generally recognize the importance of a well-organised, properly constituted, representative and accountable supporters’ body to lead the response to the Premier League’s cynical and destructive handling of a takeover. A takeover which could have a transformative impact upon Newcastle United and the communities around it. That supporters’ body is unquestionably, the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust which now has a membership of c.14,000 making it the largest members based football club supporters organization anywhere in the UK bar none.

If you haven’t already joined, I would urge you to do so and add to the weight NUST will carry with the Premier League, government and whoever else. NUST belongs to us, it is us and it acts for us. Most importantly it answers to us. 

To join the Newcastle United Supporters Trust click here

NUST’s latest statement (5/Aug/20) is available – just click here 

The petition calling for an independent inquiry of the Premier League’s conduct within this takeover has now exceeded 80,000 signatures and I expect it will exceed over 100,000 soon. If you have not yet signed the petition, I would urge you to do so  – click here and put it under the noses of those you know who will support it too. 

We also know the Independent Football Ombudsman is to contact the Premier League to require them to explain to us why they have obstructed this takeover.

‘I understand that the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust has requested that the Premier League should make a statement to fans explaining how the case was handled. This seems to be a reasonable request and I will advise the Premier League accordingly. 

‘I am sorry that I cannot assist you further and can only advise that you consider contacting your MP and the Minister for Sport at the DCMS.’ (Professor Derek Fraser)

As we have expected, the Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, Pat Ritchie has added her voice to calls for the Premier League to explain why it declined to make a decision on the takeover and why it has behaved in such a way. As a former senior executive with the sadly redundant regional development agency, ONE, Pat Ritchie is acutely aware of the economic gains which seem to be so readily thrown overboard for our city-region by the Premier League.

“Whilst we understand that the Premier League has due process to follow you will also be aware that for cities that host Premiership Clubs these investments can be about more than football – the impact of such investment into the wider city and the region can be transformational.

“As our city starts to rebuild and emerge from COVID we are clear that continuing investment and job creation in the city will play a critical part in our recovery.

“Our city centre development zones are ready for investment and the partners involved in this deal were keen to work with us to unlock commercial activity.” (Pat Ritchie, Newcastle City Council)

This goes way beyond football and potentially threatens to squander a step change in the opportunities available for people in this region who are frequently ignored by successive governments.

On the political front, Newcastle United Supporters Trust is encouraging us to contact our MPs to raise this matter with them. Thousands of supporters have already written to their local parliamentary representatives to raise this matter with the Premier League but this is also a matter for the relevant select committee. Thousands may have already written but we should all fill our MPs in-boxes regards this matter, regardless of where we are in the UK – obviously in the NE but further afield too.

Just click here for details to write to your local MP and encourage them to get behind their constituents on this vital matter

We know Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central has often adopted positions on Newcastle United related matters, having St James’ Park within her constituency has and will act, other MPs also bear a responsibility and therefore it was gratifying to read Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour MP for South Shields has also written to the Premier League to raise this matter on our behalf but others should too.

It is our responsibility to hold them to account and ensure they do. They are our representatives though occasionally they need to be reminded of that.

It is good also to see ex-players promoting the petition as above. That’s areal positive and I hope to see that continue – for those on social media – I would encourage you all to remind ex-players whatever their profile to get behind the petition and ensure we get maximum numbers.

Although I’m no longer engaged within social media I am told the Premier League’s twitter account is under siege from Mags and I hope that continues but also extends to others … beIN Sports, Sky Sports, BT Sports, Radio 5, Talksport, BBC Sport and of course other sponsors as well as every newspaper in the UK but perhaps abroad too – the corrupt state of Qatar might be a good starting point but it really needs some co-ordination – my suggestion would be The Magpie Group but admittedly I’m turning into one of those characters I used to moan about – energetic typists and little more.

But let’s be clear what we’re dealing with here. You can click on this article from the New York Times covering the appointment of Richard masters, CE at the PL – click here 

Here are my key takeaway points from this piece which makes several salient points about in whose interests the PL works:

  • Manchester United and Liverpool have a de-facto veto on senior appointments at the Premier League with the direct insinuation that Richard Masters is their man
  • There is a league within a league where the top 6 operate as a private separate collective to pursue and protect their own interests.

This is something many of us have suspected for many years but found it difficult to articulate and so it has lain in our sub-conscious. It can’t any longer. The PL’s behaviour in relation to their handling of the bid calls into question the whole sporting integrity of the Premier League. In fact, such are my viewing habits these days I’m three episodes into the Netflix documentary City of Fear charting the Mafia v New York – for The Commission of the 5 mob families controlling organised crime in the Big Apple up until the early 80s I bring you Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City  – the cartel carving up elite English football and protecting their turf regardless of the consequences to the national game. None of us outside that 6 have a fucking chance and we aren’t meant to have either.

Naturally, we find ourselves with few friends. We are by and large on our own but frankly I’m fine with that – we’ve never been runners. The London-centric media is already sneering – particular mention must be made to The Guardian – for whatever reason, the left-leaning media appear to have a real problem with understanding that we might understand what is best for our club better than they do.

My hope is the sense of anger continues and is able to be harnessed and led by NUST with others who wish to devote energies to taking this battle to the Premier League.

There are other areas I’m interested in seeing develop as well and that is a legal challenge to the Premier League that might come from Mike Ashley who let’s not forget is very anxious to get his mitts on £300m but has been thwarted. There may also be action from the consortium on the small matter of the £17m it appears to have lost by way of deposit but also of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. How I’m feeling right now I wouldn’t be disappointed to see the Premier League bankrupted. There is every reason to believe they have broken their own rules with regards to the Owners & Directors Test.

That’s enough from me less to repeat:

  • Mike Ashley is a willing seller of Newcastle United
  • The Staveley consortium remains an enthusiastic buyer
  • There is a price agreed
  • There is nothing in the Owners & Directors Test to stop this and no legal counsel would advise the bid would fail on those grounds which explains why they didn’t refuse it on those grounds
  • The Owners & Directors Test exists to protect football clubs – the PL is applying it in such a way to act in exactly the opposite way
  • Newcastle United supporters want the takeover
  • The wider city and region wants it.

Who runs English football? Tom Werner, the Glazers, Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour, Kroenke, Lewis (ENIC) … the Qatari beIN? 

I hope every one of us is ready to do our bit for Newcastle United and football.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

 MICHAEL MARTIN