You get the sense that this Newcastle United takeover is becoming a circus, and not for entirely for footballing reasons. There have been numerous letters of objection from Amnesty International, the fiance of murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi, now reportedly 10 Premier League clubs have voiced their objections to the proposed takeover by the consortium, built up by Amanda Staveley’s PCP group, the Reuben Brothers, and Saudi Arabia’s PIF investment group.
It feels almost a relief that there are now football objections to the takeover, after being thrust headlong into a geopolitical nightmare. However while you can understand the objection from Human Rights charities, even if you don’t agree with the complaints in this format (I’ve long said it should be a political issue, not a football one). This new complaint from a select amount of Premier league clubs is almost laughable, and as for Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has said “No doubt there will be a bit of jealousy in there. A case of sour grapes.”
Although the 10 clubs have not been named, and probably never will be, it won’t be hard to work out a couple of them. Judging by the current football climate, you would think Aston Villa will be on that list, they have taken complaining about things to a new level during lockdown, and you could probably make a case for Everton and West Ham to be on that list. I can’t remember a time West Ham haven’t complained about something or other. But why would clubs want to object to the deal?
Over the past 13 years under the stewardship of Mike Ashley, Newcastle have gone from a top of the table side, and enjoying Champions League nights, to two relegations. Even though those two relegation have been met with promotion at the first time of asking, a return to the Premier League has been the club fighting towards the bottom of the table.
Even former manager Rafa Benitez said in his final season it would be a miracle if we were to stay in the league. That is down to the investment in the team, and penny pinching from Ashley. It has long been the case, where as a club Newcastle have been one of the favourites for relegation, with teams probably thinking, ‘well thats one place taken!’.
A Newcastle takeover could see an end to a relegation norm. A new ownership team at the club, who actually want to improve, could be a frightening prospect for those other teams down the bottom of the league. The teams like Villa, Brighton, West Ham would have to try harder to stay out of relegation, and just hope there are three worse sides than them. This reeks of panic from the bottom side’s perspective, but these are the same sides that are holding up project restart, and wanted relegation scraped, so it will come as no surprise.
Top of the Table
The teams in the top of the table will have their own reasons for trying to curtail the takeover. In this I will include the teams trying to break into the fabled ‘Top 6’, which in my opinion are Wolves, Everton, Leicester (who are doing a good job of it!) and after this season Sheffield United.
This takeover will give a sense of a new kid trying to muscle their way in. A sense that European football may not be guaranteed anymore, and the financial implications that come with it. Although the Newcastle project may take a few years before we see any major changes in terms of league finish, those teams tat have spent hundreds of millions to try and break into the Top 6, could see them languishing in mid table mediocracy for the foreseeable future.
It could inevitably see one of the Top 6 replaced, and the income they rely on from European football, whether that be the promised land of the Champions League, or the UEFA cup (whatever it’s called now!). You would think that Arsenal and Spurs could be the most worried out of the lot that they may be replaced, and if this season is anything to go by, its already started, with them both sitting below Leicester, Wolves and Sheff United.
A Newcastle challenging for the title in a few years, along with you would have to assume Manchester City, Liverpool and possibly Chelsea, could see the contest for Champions League wrapped up before the season starts (all hypothetical at this stage!). Leaving only two remaining European places up for grabs, and a considerable drop in income for clubs who normally rely on the extra income to top up their wage bill and transfer fees.
It probably wouldn’t be hard to draw up a short list of who has voiced concerns about the Takeover. In all honesty let them complain! The fear they are now showing towards Newcastle in a weird sort of way is very enjoyable. Let’s be honest, like a lot of the meetings currently with the Premier league, it all stems from self-interest, and as Kevin Phillips said ‘jealousy’.
Personally I don’t think it would make one iota of difference. If the Premier league were to reject any takeover due to concerns from other member clubs, no takeover would ever happen!
As far as I’m concerned, its a non issue, but it is good to see they are scared of that ‘wee club from the north’. In my personal opinion you could probably rule out Man City and Liverpool from the list of complaints, its a new competitor for them, and listening to Pep and Klopp over the years, I feel it would be welcomed by them, and after all it must get boring winning everything. Personally I feel that most of the objections have come from the bottom of the table, and those who would normally be fighting relegation with us. I would even go as far to say that West Ham, Villa and Everton will be on the list.
They can complain all they want, I get the feeling that are just wasting their breath, but isn’t it a glorious thing to witness?