Newcastle United, Human Rights, Politics, Inner Battles... And, Football?

At the time of writing this, Newcastle United have been under new ownership for nine days. During that time, supporters have come under the spotlight and faced heavy criticism for the club's new owners.

Of course, it is impossible to ignore the disgusting human rights record in Saudi Arabia, nor should we ignore it. There should, however, be some realism involved. For a long time now, supporters have had very little say in who runs their football club, or how it's run. There are some supporters who just want to focus on the football because that's the only thing on their minds on a Saturday afternoon, to sit and enjoy the game. There are other supporters who have inner battles with the current links to Saudi Arabia, finding it difficult to just concentrate on the football. There are also supporters who have walked away from Newcastle United, following this takeover. Whatever your stance on this, it should be respected. If someone just wants to solely concentrate on the football, let them. There has been a lot thrown at Newcastle supporters in the last nine days, answering questions on things they have very little say in or little power to do anything about. The Premier League have their tests for new owners, and it is up to the Premier League to ensure that these tests are in the best interests of each club.

This isn't just about Newcastle United, and there are some who are disgracefully pushing the human rights issues for all the wrong reasons, they have little interest in it at all, but push it on Newcastle supporters because it's coming from a place of jealousy. Again, human rights issues should not be ignored, but they shouldn't be used as an excuse either. There are a huge amount of Newcastle supporters who acknowledge the issues, but the question they are left with is, "What can the average football fan do about it?" The answer is, very little. Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG are all examples of clubs having owners associated with appalling issues. When you accept that this is already in football, there must be a way in which this can be used in a good way, in a way to make change.

Supporters of other clubs need to be consistent in their criticisms, and not just when it suits them or when it seems to be the popular choice. Rightly or wrongly, modern-day football is about money. That money is needed to compete at the very top. Newcastle United stagnated for 14 years due to a lack of investment, any potential new owner coming into the club would have been celebrated, those celebrations were mainly in seeing the end of Mike Ashley's incredibly frustrating time on Tyneside.

The hypocrisy of some clubs criticising the deal has been quite something. A number of those clubs didn't think twice about trying to break away from the Premier League, for the European Super League, all for money. In fact, one of the clubs complaining about the takeover, Tottenham, had offered to sell to PIF around three years ago, and yet here they are complaining that PIF have taken over a different Premier League club, go figure. It is vitally important that things like human rights are highlighted for the correct reasons, it detracts from trying to make any kind of change.

From a pure football point of view, Newcastle United have ambition, they at least have a heart beat again. The club had been dead for many years, soulless and without hope. That all changed nine days ago, and supporters should be allowed to celebrate the fact their beloved club has a forward direction again. You would have heard this many times before, but "Newcastle is a one club city" when the football club is doing well, there's a buzz in the city. Before Mike Ashley's ownership, the club was the beating heart of the city, over the course of 14 years, that heartbeat became slower and slower. To a lot of people, football may not mean anything to them. In Newcastle, for thousands of people, it means everything. To have the soul of the club sucked out, was incredibly hard for supporters.

The moment Ashley sold the club, a sense of pride was restored, hope and a chance to look forward, all in a blink of an eye. A football club should be looked after, whether that's at grassroots level or the Premier League. It shouldn't be left to rot and to fester, supporters should be listened to, not ignored or treated with contempt. From Monday to a Sunday, Newcastle United is a main topic of conversation in homes across Tyneside. It's what makes the place so special, and so unique.

The supporters work incredibly hard during the week to be able to watch their side play. If the opposition play magnificently, you can bet they'd be applauded off the pitch. Talk to a Geordie about football, and you'll be in for a footballing education. Pundits and journalists should not insult that intelligence with ridiculous statements, such as "The expectations are too high at Newcastle." They aren't. Supporters just want to see their side progress and improve each year, the supporters aren't asking for titles, they're asking for an identity, a clear plan and to have pride in their team once again. That includes treating the stadium and facilities with respect, not allowing them to deteriorate over time. Newcastle United supporters have an incredible amount of pride in their city and their football club, they expect anybody associated with the club to show the same towards their beloved club.

On the eve of Newcastle's first game under new ownership, look at the scenes inside the cathedral on the hill, listen to the return of that famous Geordie roar, and know, that up here... We like to talk about football.


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