Newcastle United 21-22: Bringing Liquified Coals to Newcastle

Joe D Reid

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All Other PL Owners: [make various potentially transformative deals]

Mike Ashley: [continues to drink his beer]

I've been holding off on starting the thread until there was a senior player acquisition to report, but I'm realizing that might not happen so here we go. Departures have included Christian Atsu and Florent LeJeune (expiration of contract), Yoshinori Muto (termination of contract by mutual agreement) and Andy Carroll (changing of dressing room locks).

Further reports as events warrant.
 

Blundatola

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All Other PL Owners: [make various potentially transformative deals]

Mike Ashley: [continues to drink his beer]

I've been holding off on starting the thread until there was a senior player acquisition to report, but I'm realizing that might not happen so here we go. Departures have included Christian Atsu and Florent LeJeune (expiration of contract), Yoshinori Muto (termination of contract by mutual agreement) and Andy Carroll (changing of dressing room locks).

Further reports as events warrant.
Ed. note: Events unlikely to warrant.

Clarification on Lejeune - he was actually a transfer (undisclosed fee). Also gone is Henri Saivet and his ridiculous wages. We haven’t lost anyone important so far, apart from Willock, so I suppose that’s a silver lining of sorts. Really, really, need a quality CM and a back up striker to stay up. Unless going down is Ashley’s plan?
 

Joe D Reid

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Heard you guys offered up 22m for Joe Willock.

Hope that's true. Seems like a fair price.
Seeing reports now that Newcastle and Arsenal have agreed on a fee somewhere in that neighborhood (I've seen one place say 25M and another "in excess of 20M"). They've apparently moved on to personal terms and a medical. So if its going to happen, it's going to happen in the next few days.
 

mikeford

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Looks like 25m pounds is with add-ons and probably benchmarks the player must hit. Sad to see the player go as I think he's got quite a good future ahead but Arsenal have to get money somewhere. Take good care of our boy, haha.
 

67YAZ

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The Athletic is reporting that Saudi Arabia will end its ban on beIN broadcasts, which will help address the pirate broadcasts that have hung up the Newcastle sale.
 

Blundatola

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No one I know wants a Saudi takeover, specifically, just a takeover more generally. Some of us are less than pleased about becoming the bad guys, but at least it’s more interesting than being annual relegation fodder.

Of course this takeover has been about to go through multiple times already, so we’ll see…
 

Joe D Reid

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Yeah, the choice is between chaotic evil and lawful evil. I know a few folks who are ok with it (especially because there is some talk that a condition of the takeover will be enforcement of additional hands-off provisions on the Saudis). But it's obvious where the money is coming from.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Seeing City and Chelsea supporters crying foul, in spite of my disdain for anything Saudi, I love this. If there is any group of supporters that has earned the sugar daddy treatment, it's NUFC
 

teddykgb

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I haven’t seen City supporters crying foul much. I’m sure there are some but I’ve always thought it was absurd this was blocked in the first place.

I think what concerns me the most is the more widespread adoption of the “sports washing” mantra but that’s probably more of a V&N thread.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I think it’s embarrassing listening to Newcastle fans talk about their “tortured history” under Ashley but you guys know how I am.
 

Blundatola

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It’s all relative, isn’t it? I feel the same way listening to the Arsenal moaning.

Anyway, sounds like a done deal with funds and shares transferred.
 

67YAZ

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The geo-politics behind this are a ridiculous sign of the times. The Saudis ban Qatari owned beIN due to their regional jockeying for hegemony, and then to satisfy their footie-loving citizens, turn a blind eye (or more) to pirate broadcasts of the EPL. So when the Saudi crown wants to buy an EPL club, the pushback isn’t human rights concerns but rather the pirated broadcasts. So the Saudis weigh up their options and decide that allowing their regional rival to broadcast football matches is less valuable than owning a club in nrowthwest England…where they can hope to soon go toe-to-toe with Qatari owned PSG in the future. What a world.

Since FFP appears to be dead for everyone but City, I wonder how aggressively and how transparently the Saudis will plow money into squad. They probably have a big name director of football lined up who, in turn, has a shortlist of summer signings to show the clubs’ “intentions”. Wouldn’t Mbappe be the perfect jab at the Qataris?
 

OCST

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The geo-politics behind this are a ridiculous sign of the times. The Saudis ban Qatari owned beIN due to their regional jockeying for hegemony, and then to satisfy their footie-loving citizens, turn a blind eye (or more) to pirate broadcasts of the EPL. So when the Saudi crown wants to buy an EPL club, the pushback isn’t human rights concerns but rather the pirated broadcasts. So the Saudis weigh up their options and decide that allowing their regional rival to broadcast football matches is less valuable than owning a club in nrowthwest England…where they can hope to soon go toe-to-toe with Qatari owned PSG in the future. What a world.

Since FFP appears to be dead for everyone but City, I wonder how aggressively and how transparently the Saudis will plow money into squad. They probably have a big name director of football lined up who, in turn, has a shortlist of summer signings to show the clubs’ “intentions”. Wouldn’t Mbappe be the perfect jab at the Qataris?
Everton went way cheap on the window this summer, pleading FFP constraints. Only club I know of that's done that.

In the short term I think reining is great if it means not making ridiculous overpays for the likes of Sigurdsson and Iwobi. The discipline also maybe helped in forcing the club to look at less expensive options like Townsend and Gray, who have been fantastic for the total transfer fee of 1.5M.
 

Joe D Reid

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I will be really surprised if the new owners money-hose to that degree. Staveley threw out the goal of eventually "regularly competing for major trophies", which honestly is more like Entertainers-era Newcastle than PSG.

As for FFP (and I don't pretend to understand FFP, but...) the Mail (I know...) is reporting that because Ashley has been such a cheap shitbag, they can spend something like 200M without going over the cap. If there's one problem they haven't had it's an imbalance between revenue and spending.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I haven’t seen City supporters crying foul much. I’m sure there are some but I’ve always thought it was absurd this was blocked in the first place.

I think what concerns me the most is the more widespread adoption of the “sports washing” mantra but that’s probably more of a V&N thread.
I’m curious exactly where you’re going with this…I think it’s fine for this forum, albeit in a new thread.

but maybe @Zomp or someone with sway thinks it’s too V&N
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I will be really surprised if the new owners money-hose to that degree. Staveley threw out the goal of eventually "regularly competing for major trophies", which honestly is more like Entertainers-era Newcastle than PSG.

As for FFP (and I don't pretend to understand FFP, but...) the Mail (I know...) is reporting that because Ashley has been such a cheap shitbag, they can spend something like 200M without going over the cap. If there's one problem they haven't had it's an imbalance between revenue and spending.
I don't thinking statements from the new owners about their spending can be viewed as credible, for two reasons.

First, even if you planned to money-hose like a madman, you wouldn't say that during the actual ownership transition, as this might engender opposition. No matter what your true intentions, your best bet would be to say that you are planning to invest enough to compete (to get supporters excited) but to keep things within reason (to prevent opponents from emerging). Which is exactly what they have been saying,

Second, at the end of the day it all comes down to how much MBS cares about the team's success and how much he wants to make this a dick measuring contest against Qatar and UAE. I'm not sure how much the preferences of people like Staveley or whoever is the nominal PIS chairman even matter in this situation. What MBS wants, he is going to expect to get. Maybe he doesn't care that much whether the team is truly competing for the league or CL. But if he does, I don't see anybody actually pushing back and telling him they won't spend his money to try to achieve those goals.
 

Kliq

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Seeing City and Chelsea supporters crying foul, in spite of my disdain for anything Saudi, I love this. If there is any group of supporters that has earned the sugar daddy treatment, it's NUFC
I'm no fan of the KSA and MBS' attempts to whitewash the crimes of the Saudi autocracy, but if this was going to happen to an EPL team, I'm glad it's a club like Newcastle.
 

Joe D Reid

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Second, at the end of the day it all comes down to how much MBS cares about the team's success and how much he wants to make this a dick measuring contest against Qatar and UAE. I'm not sure how much the preferences of people like Staveley or whoever is the nominal PIS chairman even matter in this situation. What MBS wants, he is going to expect to get. Maybe he doesn't care that much whether the team is truly competing for the league or CL. But if he does, I don't see anybody actually pushing back and telling him they won't spend his money to try to achieve those goals.
Well, I have to say that buying a single midfielder capable of completing a forward pass would be a nice first step.
 

Cellar-Door

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One thing this definitely tells us... the fit and proper persons test was as expected not something the PL and FA ever planned to follow, they just wanted to make sure that an independent regulator wasn't installed, since there is zero chance the Saudi's could pass a fit and proper persons test as written.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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One thing this definitely tells us... the fit and proper persons test was as expected not something the PL and FA ever planned to follow, they just wanted to make sure that an independent regulator wasn't installed, since there is zero chance the Saudi's could pass a fit and proper persons test as written.
Mind you that’s probably true of half the owners in the EPL
 

Joe D Reid

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One thing this definitely tells us... the fit and proper persons test was as expected not something the PL and FA ever planned to follow, they just wanted to make sure that an independent regulator wasn't installed, since there is zero chance the Saudi's could pass a fit and proper persons test as written.
More specifically, it shows that the fit and proper person test doesn't apply to the money. Ashley and the PL had been in binding arbitration over the failure to approve the sale last summer. As part of that, the PL conceded that if the Saudi entity wasn't going to actually be involved in running the club, the test would not apply to them. That's how this got flipped so quick--the Saudis just agreed (in what the PL has said is a "legally binding" way, although I don't know what that means) not to actually run the club. So the door seems to be wide open to dark money at this point. Although that's true about nearly every place and thing in London as well.
 
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Cellar-Door

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Mind you that’s probably true of half the owners in the EPL
Yeah, but that's supposed to be why they added it a few years back.

More specifically, it shows that the fit and proper person test doesn't apply to the money. Ashley and the PL had been in binding arbitration over the failure to approve the sale last summer. As part of that, the PL conceded that if the Saudi entity wasn't going to actually be involved in running the club, the test would not apply to them. That's how this got flipped so quick--the Saudis just agreed (in what the PL has said is a "legally binding" way, although I don't know what that means) not to actually run the club. So the door seems to be wide open to dark money at this point. Although that's true about nearly every place and thing in London as well.
Yeah, I saw that explanation, where it's basically... oh well if you hire a middleman we totally believe you aren't involved.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I’m hugely empathetic to that perspective.

I’m locked down for a little bit, but I’d like to put some thoughts in here at some point soon.

edit: I’d guess this article sums up a lot of you guys.
 
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OCST

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KSM cuts people up and KSA has a horrendous human rights record but I don’t think it’s fair to put it on Newcastle or its fans to be the ones to have to assert moral opposition.

The whole edifice has made its peace with dirty money. The league was withholding approval not over the fact that the Saudi regime is brutal and repressive but that it was pirating its PL feed.

The horse left the barn a long time ago.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Oliver Kay (The Athletic) has a good take

https://theathletic.com/2876300/2021/10/09/english-football-should-be-different-it-is-in-thrall-to-money-no-matter-where-it-comes-from/?source=user_shared_article

He makes a good point in that this wouldn’t have happened in North America (although I’m not too sure about that)


The fact that it happened in the UK speaks volumes about Britain’s embrace of foreign money - regardless of its origin.

As I mentioned above , if we applied wokeness to the owners of our favourite teams, or virtually anything we patronize , then we would be sadly disappointed
 

shaggydog2000

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I certainly don't hold anything against Newcastle fans who are happy to finally get rid of crap ownership. It's not their job to vet owners or care about the fairness of the sport. They just want an entertaining team. It is the Premier League's gig though. And UEFA's to a good extent as well. But those organizations are already compromised by letting in the UAE, Qatar, Chinese companies with direct ties to the government, and Abramovich who is basically besties with Putin. So another group with close ties to an oppressive regime with terrible human rights history is not a huge change. It's just the level of money they could bring. And the fact that they cut up a journalist. But mostly the money. Maybe this leads to FFP rules with real teeth, but I severely doubt it. Super teams are what makes these people money.
 

Senator Donut

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Oliver Kay (The Athletic) has a good take

https://theathletic.com/2876300/2021/10/09/english-football-should-be-different-it-is-in-thrall-to-money-no-matter-where-it-comes-from/?source=user_shared_article

He makes a good point in that this wouldn’t have happened in North America (although I’m not too sure about that)


The fact that it happened in the UK speaks volumes about Britain’s embrace of foreign money - regardless of its origin.

As I mentioned above , if we applied wokeness to the owners of our favourite teams, or virtually anything we patronize , then we would be sadly disappointed
This absolutely would never happen in the United States and opposing the KSA’s involvement in sports in not "wokeness," it’s a much lower standard than that. Ownership hasn’t been accused of off-color jokes; they’ve committed gross violations of human rights.

if US sports are willing to force out people like Jerry Richardson or Dell Loy Hansen, whose offenses were awful, but not in the same ballpark as MBS, I can’t ever see this happening in America.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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This absolutely would never happen in the United States and opposing the KSA’s involvement in sports in not "wokeness," it’s a much lower standard than that. Ownership hasn’t been accused of off-color jokes; they’ve committed gross violations of human rights.

if US sports are willing to force out people like Jerry Richardson or Dell Loy Hansen, whose offenses were awful, but not in the same ballpark as MBS, I can’t ever see this happening in America.
On the one hand, I do agree this specific thing wouldn’t happen. On the other, NYCFC is taking the same sportswashing UAE money that Manchester City is.
 

67YAZ

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This absolutely would never happen in the United States and opposing the KSA’s involvement in sports in not "wokeness," it’s a much lower standard than that. Ownership hasn’t been accused of off-color jokes; they’ve committed gross violations of human rights.

if US sports are willing to force out people like Jerry Richardson or Dell Loy Hansen, whose offenses were awful, but not in the same ballpark as MBS, I can’t ever see this happening in America.
Kay makes the key distinction that US pro sports are franchise systems, meaning that it’s probably a safer long term investment but also has a higher bar to entry and less individual flexibility.

Kay also puts these club purchases in the context of massive oil money investments across sectors of the British economy. Christ, the NHS is taking Saudi money. There’s no real comparison to the US economy in the scope and scale of foreign oil money pouring into critical sectors.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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This absolutely would never happen in the United States and opposing the KSA’s involvement in sports in not "wokeness," it’s a much lower standard than that. Ownership hasn’t been accused of off-color jokes; they’ve committed gross violations of human rights.

if US sports are willing to force out people like Jerry Richardson or Dell Loy Hansen, whose offenses were awful, but not in the same ballpark as MBS, I can’t ever see this happening in America.
You are correct in that KSA is never likely to be owning sports franchises in a North America … for two reasons.

Firstly .. why would they want to? Owning an NFL franchise would not have the global reach that a Premier League team offers (even an obscure one in the north east of a England to paraphrase Ms. Stavely)

But more importantly .. this is a country buying a team. And so it comes with all the geopolitical baggage that entails. To the best of my knowledge offshore ownership of American sports teams is basically unknown … let alone by state actors.
 

coremiller

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You are correct in that KSA is never likely to be owning sports franchises in a North America … for two reasons.

Firstly .. why would they want to? Owning an NFL franchise would not have the global reach that a Premier League team offers (even an obscure one in the north east of a England to paraphrase Ms. Stavely)

But more importantly .. this is a country buying a team. And so it comes with all the geopolitical baggage that entails. To the best of my knowledge offshore ownership of American sports teams is basically unknown … let alone by state actors.
There have been foreign owners in US sports. MIkhail Prohkorov owned the Nets for a while. The San Jose Sharks are owned by a German billionaire (Hasso Plattner). No state ownership though.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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There have been foreign owners in US sports. MIkhail Prohkorov owned the Nets for a while. The San Jose Sharks are owned by a German billionaire (Hasso Plattner). No state ownership though.
80% of NYCFC being the exception that proves the rule.
 

ragnarok725

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You are correct in that KSA is never likely to be owning sports franchises in a North America … for two reasons.

Firstly .. why would they want to? Owning an NFL franchise would not have the global reach that a Premier League team offers (even an obscure one in the north east of a England to paraphrase Ms. Stavely)

But more importantly .. this is a country buying a team. And so it comes with all the geopolitical baggage that entails. To the best of my knowledge offshore ownership of American sports teams is basically unknown … let alone by state actors.
Not to mention, every major league in the US has some form of a salary cap, and powerful owners working in a balance of power against a union to control wages. The whole model of the soccer sportswashing is to use wealth to build powerhouse teams. That doesn’t work in American league structures. You can flex that wealth in certain ways - hire better coaches and executives, better facilities and such, but ultimately our can’t guarantee success on the field with your checkbook in anything approaching the same manner.

And the public knows this. Ownership doesn’t get the same kind of credit or publicity around the success of a team that it does when it’s been built on the back of the owner’s wealth.

I think sportswashing still happens in the US but it’s more about making run of the mill billionaires into heroes when they should be getting taxed, not about aiding and abetting human rights atrocities.
 

Joe D Reid

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So I haven't actually posted substantively about my thoughts yet, and this seems as good a time as any to set them down. Primarily, I am sad.

I'm sad because if Newcastle actually do go on and win something now, at least part of the glory will go to a despot whose political and ethical positions are almost literally the opposite of my own. I'm sad because the preceding 14 years under bad ownership--"bad" here meaning "an owner who is bad at owning things" not "an owner who is a bad person", although he is that too--has so sapped the club that lots of supporters are cheering the takeover. I promise you that if you turned back the clock 15 years and the Saudis tried to buy then, there would have been riots in the city centre with "Our History is Not For Sale" banners all over everything.

More broadly, I'm sad because I enjoy watching English soccer, the highest level of which is now liberally studded with dingbat owners who either are repressive dictators, are affiliated with repressive dictatorships, or got their money by looting the corpse of a repressive dictatorship. (And hell, those were the owners who *stopped* the Super League, primarily because they use their clubs as combination pet/merkins rather than piggy banks.)

That said, when the football starts I think I'm not going to care very much. I've already watched hours and hours of Olympics held in China and Russia. I'll do the same for the WC in Qatar, despite the fact that the stadia were built in part by Bangladeshi indentured servants. (And to be as clear-eyed as possible, I will probably watch while unknowingly wearing at least one article of clothing made by Bangladeshi wage slaves.) I didn't change my opinions of those regimes by watching, but I did lend them my eyeballs. I'm going to do the same here, and I am going to be happy if NUFC win. I do not see a way out of the Matrix. I'm also sad about that.

Finally, Coutinho is an overpriced dilettante and they should not sign him.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Another take from the Athletic’s Simon Hughes

https://theathletic.com/2871149/2021/10/10/why-the-super-rich-now-tend-to-leave-the-richest-most-famous-football-clubs-alone/?source=user_shared_article

The gist of it is the Big Clubs are rarely the target of this sort of takeover because a) the fan base would not accept it and b) the cost is prohibitive

Henry bought Liverpool 10 years ago for around £300 million - the same neighbourhood as Newcastle today. But the likes of Liverpool, ManU, Real Madrid are worth 10 times that now. As a business investment it makes no sense.
 

67YAZ

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The Guardian seems to be happily relaying new ownership's to-do list. Bruce has a £7m buy out, but the exit is being negotiated. Ralf Rangnick, now at Lokomotiv Moscow, and Jason Wilcox, City's academy director, are being considered for director of football. Currently unattached Lucien Favre is floated as manager, but the list of employed candidates shows some real intent (and financial backing): Brendan Rodgers, Erik ten Hag, Roberto Martinez, Graham Potter, and Steven Gerrard. Conte is also floating around out there, which would be a stunner.
 

OCST

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I'm no fan of the KSA and MBS' attempts to whitewash the crimes of the Saudi autocracy, but if this was going to happen to an EPL team, I'm glad it's a club like Newcastle.
Already has happened to other teams. so the cookie has crumbled.