Mike Ashley’s Reign of Mediocrity is Over at Newcastle

And the Saudis are in!

It’s been a whirlwind few days up at Tyneside, as rumblings of the club being bought from Ashley became reality quicker than most could’ve imagined possible. 

newcastle united takeover

Newcastle fans have had this carrot dangled in front of them many times before, with it previously always being brutally ripped away in the end.

It’s been a frustrating situation for Newcastle’s loyal fanbase. They have been very vocal about wanting Mike Ashley out, meanwhile, he has made it clear he wants to sell. Despite a mutual desire to part ways, Ashley has previously struggled to find a buyer for the club for his £300million asking price...until now! 

So who are the new owners of Newcastle United?

Newcastle United is now owned by a consortium that is backed by Suadi Arabia. Assurances have been given that the actual Saudi state will not have any form of control over the football club. However, the Public Investment Club (PIF), which has put up 80% of the dosh for the £305million takeover, will be chaired by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.

The deal was brokered by British businesswoman Amdana Stavely, who has long-standing connections in the Middle East. She has given fans assurances of how the funds will be spent to develop the club by investing in the youth system, training facilities, the stadium and the local area.

How long before Newcastle “do a City” then?

The takeover now means that Newcastle is now the richest club in world football. Naturally, this has sparked sensationalist headlines linking Newcastle with the likes of Mbappe and citing expectations of an immediate title charge.

However, Stavely and the consortium’s plans appear to be a lot more calculated - similar to Manchester City’s following their takeover back in 2008. Rather than immediately going out and spending big money on superstar signings in a bid to compete for the top prizes, investment in the club and the local area seems to be at the heart of the consortium’s plans - as well as listening to fans.

The Toon Army go absolutely nuts

Despite controversies surrounding the human rights abuses of the Saudi state, it’s safe to say that vast numbers of Newcastle United fans were delighted with the takeover. There were jubilant scenes outside of St. James’ Park on Thursday afternoon, with the Toon Army rejoicing and chanting their way through their songbook.

However, it does seem that the majority of Newcastle United fans are somewhat grounded. No one is expecting an immediate return to the top four and the Champions League. As Geordie legend Alan Shearer summed up in his Tweet, the takeover means that this passionate and loyal, yet long-suffering fanbase can once more can “dare to hope again”.

Under Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s ambition appeared to amount to little more than survival and continued Premier League existence, with even cup competitions giving fans little to be inspired about. If it goes to plan, this new era will very much change that.

Moral questions surrounding Saudi Arabia’s human rights record are, however, unlikely to go away anytime soon.

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