As soon as the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia completed their £300million takeover of Newcastle United, you can be sure that some of the world’s best footballers suddenly saw St James’ Park as a viable place to showcase their talents.
The so-called ‘Big Six’ of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham has been expanded.
The new member plays in black and white stripes and are, arguably, the biggest underperforming club in the game.
Money talks in football. And while the pound notes now on offer on the banks of the Tyne will provide a big incentive for players to look beyond Manchester, Merseyside and London, so too will the chance to make a special kind of history.
Newcastle haven’t won a major trophy since 1969, when they lifted the European Fairs Cup – a competition that doesn’t even exist anymore.
Their last FA Cup win was in 1955 and you would have to be almost 100 years old to remember the last time the Toon were league champions.
I can’t think of another club of Newcastle’s stature that has gone so long without actually winning something.
Most of their fans have had a lifetime filled with hopes and dreams – but ultimately disappointment.
So, in purely football terms, I view the Magpies’ change of ownership as the start of an exciting new chapter for the Premier League.
I felt the same when Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and then Sheikh Mansour came in at City.
Those two takeovers brought an end to the established elite – and now Newcastle will shake things up again.
The biggest and best domestic league in the world is alive and kicking – and La Liga, serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 can only look on in envy.
There is a caveat, however.
Alan Shearer was right when he urged Newcastle’s fans not to close their eyes or ears when faced with criticisms about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
But Saudi Arabia is open for business as far as our government is concerned – and football, like it or not, is now big, big business.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Newcastle because they are a huge club, with a magnificent stadium and incredibly passionate support.
The fans have been living in a footballing hell since Mike Ashley took over in 2007.
From a purely football point of view, I’m really excited to see how Newcastle now go about their business.
Are they going to blow everyone else out of the water financially when it comes to trying to lure the best players in the world to Tyneside with big fees and wages?
Do they have a long-term plan to invest in a world-class academy that will enable them to develop their own talent? One thing I am certain about is Amanda Staveley’s statement that the new owners have designs on winning the title and qualifying for the Champions League inside the next 10 years will have sent a shiver through every other boardroom.
No wonder thousands took to the streets of Newcastle to celebrate when the deal was announced.
No doubt, many will be decked out with black and white tea towels tied around their heads in tribute to the club’s new owners when they play Tottenham today!
When it’s rocking, St James’ Park is one of the best places in the world to play football. And the place will be shaking to its foundations this afternoon.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Should Newcastle sack Steve Bruce? Comment below.
Image:Newcastle United via Getty Image)
In normal circumstances, this would also be a personal day of celebration for Steve Bruce.
It is Steve’s 1,000th game as a manager – and it should be a time to reflect on a career that has brought him back to the club he has supported all his life and the stadium where he used to be a ball boy.
Instead, Bruce is a dead man walking. It is clear that Newcastle’s new owners have already started the search for a new manager because Steve is Ashley’s man.
He has done a decent job keeping the club in the Premier League, not just because of the lack of investment in players, but because every week he has had to deal with the poison being poured on the man who employs him.
Steve is experienced enough to know how these things work
But as a proud Geordie and a Newcastle fan, this one will really sting.Read More Read More