It had to happen right? Newcastle United finally released from the shackles of Mike Ashley’s tedious 14-year tenure.
And boy have they got themselves a billionaire.
Ok, let me use a crude but simple way of describing the wealth of the man, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) bought a Leonardo da Vinci painting for $450m!
That’s about a SIXTH OF THE TOTAL VALUE of Liverpool Football Club… on a f*****g painting, which probably hang somewhere in the world’s most expensive house that he owns (a 17th-century chateau in France).
I mean your average Glazers-type (Manchester United) has a net worth in the £4bn range. Then there’s Roman Abramovich (Chelsea) and Stan Kroenke (Arsenal) at £10bn and Sheikh Mansour (Mancester City) coming in at around £20bn.
This MBS geezer, in his mid-30s, makes that lot look broke. He is in control of a fortune estimated at £320bn. Not sure if he’d allow the likes of Avram Glazer the privilege of wiping his arse for fear of catching a disease from a mere commoner. He earns more interest annually than the Glazer empire’s total value.
It’s sick, isn’t it? So much is owned by so few, while most of the planet’s population struggle.
Following wild scenes in Newcastle on Friday night as thousands took to the streets in celebration of the announcement, the press got to work “exposing” the newest Premier League club owner. And there’s tons of alleged dirt, most notably the destruction of Yemen and killing of 1000s of its citizens in partnership with the USA.
He’s a notable bastard… but aren’t they all? Ok there’s a few exceptions… the owner of newly-promoted Brentford, Matthew Benham, is a charitable chap.
He’s worth £3m – about a seventh of Pep Guadiola’s annual salary. Oh, and Delia Smith (Norwich) who in my youth was a well-known celebrity chef on the BBC. Apart from beating eggs, couldn’t hurt a fly.
But yes, as with last week’s words about Liverpool’s owners, there’s very little savoury about the type who takeover top-flight football clubs.
I was disgusted to learn that while promoting great causes and ploughing money into deprived communities, Abramovich donated £74m to a company in Israel ‘Elad’, who are accused of trying to seize Palestinian neighbourhoods for illegal Israeli settlers.
Issues such as these bring up huge dilemmas. What do I do as a lifelong Chelsea fan and supporter of the Palestinian Liberation Movement?
Do I stop following my club in disgust (and solidarity)? Have I sold my soul (as Newcastle is being accused of)?
Well… no, I don’t. Chelsea is part of my life, players, coaches and owners come and go but the club has been around for nearly 120 years and (hopefully) another 120, long past the oligarch’s reign.
It’s a soft argument and one I’m not comfortable with, by the way.
On the bright side, despite my love for football before the Billionaire Boys Club, in my opinion the Toon Army are well deserving of what’s likely to be successful years ahead.
I remember in the 80s and early 90s going up to St James Park. On the first occasion, I was told to watch my back at half-time. And as predicted, a hail of bricks and bottles came over the back of the away end! Needless to say, Geordies hated us and we hated them.
However, as with most football people in England, the Toon Army has always been admired – not for their fighting capability, rather their commitment and loyalty to the club.
Yeah, they’re proper. They’ve been poorly treated over the last couple of decades. Consistent lack of investment in the team has kept them far from where they could and should be.
I had a mail from serial stalker, Morne Denere. He said in five or six years Newcastle will be a force to be reckoned with.
“Not now as the world’s best players want Champions League football”. I disagree. I’d say within two years we’ll have another ‘Top 6’ side to compete with.
Players will buy into the ‘project’, they’ll get a top end coach and bob’s your uncle.
Let’s face it, if MBS offers £25m into an off-shore account, off the record for a signature, do you think players will turn it down?
Also, as with City, Newcastle will probably sell sponsorship to a board-owned Saudi entity and put a super inflated price on the value to balance the Financial Fair Play rules.
It’s all coming… Howay the lads! Football’s back this weekend thank god! In the meantime, stay safe good people, get vaxxed, chat next week.