So, here we are…
5,251 excruciating days since bulldozing his way into Barrack Road, it would appear that the day that many of us have longed for but feared may never arrive is now upon us– Mike Ashley is on the verge of mounting his trusty steed Keith Bishop, before riding off into the sunset with a £305 million pound clack and white cheque in his pocket.
And, providing the next 24-48 hours pan out as we expect, you have my word that this will be the last time I reference him in any article I write for True Faith.
I am now focussed.
Focussed on the future of Newcastle United, and what that may bring, rather than looking back on the not yet fully understood, damage that has been done to our club over the past 14 years.
The rebuild of Newcastle United, hopefully, starts today.
Our prospective new owners should, and hopefully will be judged by the fans on what they build and achieve on behalf of Newcastle United Football Club.
Whilst many of us rightfully have concerns over certain individuals that may, or may not, be involved with the largest element of a consortium put together by Amanda Staveley, it is not the job of the fans of Newcastle United to become the moral arbiters of the Premier League.
That is, and should continue to be the job of Richard Masters and Co.
That is not to say however, that the fans of Newcastle United should not do all they can to ensure that wherever possible, our new owners fully reflect a fanbase that prides itself on its inclusive nature and wholeheartedly opposes discrimination in any form.
I am entirely confident, having demonstrated incredible levels of tenacity and determination to become custodians of our great club, that our new ownership will be one that listens to us in respect of the above concerns, whilst also workingin tandem with supporters to improve everything we have come to loathe about Newcastle United, both on and off the pitch.
And it is by that measure, that they should ultimately be judged.
Lee Forster @LeeDForster
‘The podcast we never thought we’d record’
Full reaction from the night of the takeover – thank you for all of the kind feedback so far
I can’t remember recording most of this but I think it turned out okay https://t.co/I74hZGqOxf
— Alex Hurst (@tfalex1892) October 9, 2021
Looks like we made it! Well almost?
My mind is racing, my heart is beating, I’m overcome with excitement once again, when thinking about what could be for Newcastle United! I really hope (now, Steve!) That this is finally the time for Newcastle United to break away from the parasitic wide boy that is Mike Ashley, and to take their place once again amongst England’s top clubs.
With the news breaking yesterday of Saudi Arabia & Qatar coming to an agreement over ceasing piracy within KSA, it seemed to almost be a sliding door moment, possibly THE sliding moment within the long running saga that is the potential takeover of the club. You can forgive people for being cynical, but with pretty much every journalist, and some seriously respected, and reliable ones too, reporting the deal will be waived through by the Premier League, in mere days. Wow! This could be the end of one of the most soulless, unenjoyable periods of time for Newcastle fans the world over.
What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m excited once again. Excited to see the type of club I saw in the 90’s, who broke the world transfer record to bring Shearer home. The type of club in the 00’s, under a world class manager, and even better human being in Sir Bobby Robson, building a side mixed with youthful endeavour and experience, a side who can challenge at the right end of the table.
It’s been so amazing to see how the tide of Toon fans’ interactions have changed following this news, Twitter has gone from a battlezone to us virtually hugging and getting the cans out once again. This is what Newcastle United is all about! A passionate fanbase, United in their love for the club, and excited about what the side can achieve once again. The return of ambition to this beautiful club & city will be a sight to behold. Get this deal done, and we’re back!!!!!
Chris Currie @Wig82
Our first ever ‘The Special newsletter’ post Mike Ashley goes out today ☺️
‘Post Mike Ashley’ is something I enjoy saying/writing singing
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— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) October 9, 2021
Cans, but with a cost
The jubilation felt uncontrollable, it was like being a child again.
On so many occasions over the past two years this has felt miles away and yet if the press are right, which given their previous negativity is worth noting then shortly he who must no longer be named will no longer be linked to our football club. After years of struggling to get the slightest amount of ambition and forward thinking from people who did not know what they were doing, or what they had, now it is here. It is time for Newcastle United to be something to be proud of again. Time for me to pull off a miracle after promising the eldest a season ticket next summer … gulp!
Football does always come with great scenes of emotion, but I do also know that this is a mixed bag. The morality of celebrating the arrival of a group who whether we care or not are attempting to sportswash their image is hard to reconcile when it’s your football club.
Getting away with murder is a phrase, until it isn’t. Having said that we are football fans and our government choose to sell bombs and weapons that they know are being used unacceptably, very rich people are rarely morally sound.
There are some journalists who seem to think we should fight this takeover, but if we had that level of power, we wouldn’t be so delighted that the fourteen years of Ashley may finally be over.
Stephen Ord @smord84
Today we've turned down the 30+ media requests. We said our piece yesterday and got the message out there standing up for #nufc fans in local, national and international media.
— Greg Tomlinson (@GregNUST) October 8, 2021
It appears that we have finally reached that day. The one Newcastle United fans have dreamed of for a decade. Pending some ‘i’s being dotted, and some ‘t’s being crossed, it looks like the ‘Mike Ashley era’ is over. Goodbye. Farewell. Fuck off. It should be a glorious day; we can talk about Newcastle United in positive terms. We can dream again. The silver lining is there for all to see.
That idiom contains a second part however; removing Ashley may have ended an increasingly sour 14-year relationship, but Newcastle United’s new majority owners come with baggage of their own. There is still a cloud here. A different kind of cloud perhaps, but you can’t ignore the war on Yemen, the death of Jamal Khashoggi, or human rights abuses, et al. These are not things which go away just because a regime bought a football club. Nor should they be forgotten just because said regime ousted an extremely unpopular owner. Those issues still exist. And they’ll continue to exist once the euphoria of the moment has faded.
I don’t begrudge anyone a moment of joy – like everyone, I’m happy to see Ashley (and, hopefully, eventually Bruce) gone – and understand and acknowledge that fans are essentially powerless here; Mags fans have no-more influence over who owns Newcastle United than they do French foreign policy, so why not enjoy the moment? That bitter after taste just won’t wash away though, that feeling Newcastle United are set to be used as a kind of cloth in a great sport washing campaign. And even as we joke about signing Mbappe, that feeling doesn’t go away.
Rob McGregor @SamuraiPizzaRob
A parting shot to Mike Ashley from @tfalex1892🤬
— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) October 8, 2021
I am one of the 6%. At least I thought I was. Morally, ethically, intellectually, it cannot be right to welcome, let alone celebrate, a takeover funded directly by a regime that has just about the worst human rights record on earth. One that had no qualms about executing a journalist on foreign soil in the most brutal manner imaginable just because he was a critic of the regime. That might make uncomfortable reading, it might not be our fault, but it is true, and it has to be said.
And yet, as the news broke yesterday, a set of emotions kicked in that swept all that to one side. First and foremost, relief. Relief that the suffocating death-grip – no, the irony is not lost on me – of the Ashley era was about to be released. That the empty husk of a club left by fourteen years of deliberate neglect was about to have new life breathed into it. And yes, over the course of the evening that relief grew into genuine hope and excitement. I suppose I just have to admit that I’m an unprincipled hypocrite when it comes to football.
I’m not interested in Kane or Mbappe. I’m not interested in boasting about the sheer obscene extent of the wealth behind the club. I’m interested only in re-establishing the connection between the club and its fans, between the club and the city. I hope that there will be constraints on funding, that this will be a bottom-up re-building and that it will, at every stage, seek to use its wealth and power to at least prompt some positive change in the community and the wider region.
But most of all I just hope that I never ever have to write about another Steve Bruce press conference, with my brain leaking out of my ears in sheer mind-melting infuriation.
Matthew Philpotts @mjp19731