The Premier League action is currently on hold but there is big news coming from Tyneside. It appears that Mike Ashley’s era as the owner of Newcastle United will soon be over.
A consortium led by financial expert Amanda Staveley has filed all the necessary paperwork and a £300 million takeover looks to be imminent.
This will see the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia acquire an 80% stake at the club. The fund itself is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman which raised a lot of questions due to the nature of his political deeds in the Middle East.
However, Newcastle fans don’t seem too bothered as they are finally getting the financial injection needed to compete with the top Premier League clubs.
But before I have my say on what could this all bring for the Magpies, let’s see how the takeover is already impacting the club.
What Changes Will the Takeover Bring?
Given that he is practically running Saudi Arabia, I hardly expect Prince Bin Salman to be present at St. James Park for every fixture, much less run the day-to-day executive activities of the club. It is rumored that this responsibility will fall to Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
He will be the Prince’s right-hand man and will most probably be taking over as official chairman of the club. But all know that the big decisions on stuff like appointments, transfers, and wages will be completely controlled by Bin Salman.
It looks like manager Steve Bruce is set to keep his job for now and the new owners are promising him ample financial aid to secure new contracts for the team’s best players and also strengthen the ranks with some new quality additions.
Newcastle will have to abide by the Financial Fair Play rule like every other club but the transfer activity of PSG and Manchester City, entities owned by similar wealthy people, prove that the Magpies’ faithful can expect a lot of high-profile movement on that front.
But the news hasn’t passed without stirring some big controversies. Stan Collymore has branded the takeover as immoral and fundamentally damaging to world football.
This may sound harsh but it’s true that Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has been poor and Bin Salman himself deflected a lot when the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was being investigated.
How Will the Takeover Affect the Club’s Future?
If we put aside the moral debate, the takeover has every chance of torpedoing Newcastle United into a golden era in the Premier League.
They have one of the biggest stadiums in England and their fans are among the most passionate and loyal supporters in the country. This is a great foundation and something you cannot simply buy.
PSG and Manchester City may also have state-of-the-art football grounds but their following does not come close even now.
Newcastle fans have been hurting a lot in the past few years and they will be thrilled to see the back of Mike Ashley. I expect there will be fractions that will be skeptical of Bin Salman’s intentions but if success comes soon, their voices will probably fade with time.
The league as a whole is plagued by a lot of uncertainty right now but if and when this takeover of one of the most legendary teams in England is completed, there will be a loud buzz coming from the Tyneside.