This Sunday will be celebrated as Liberation Day in Geordi Arabia.
The day the Toon Army gathers at St James’s Park to watch their team play Tottenham and celebrate the passing of Mike Ashley.
Ashley was the despised ‘Cockney’ dictator (from Buckinghamshire), whose crime-sheet includes underpaying sports shop workers, hiring Dennis Wise, then allowing him to work from ‘that London’.
As they thoroughly rid Ashley, the locals will welcome the protagonist to a new regime that presides over public beheadings, the dismemberment of disgruntled journalists, and the systematic subjugation of women.
It’s carnival time – fancy dress shops are plying on Saudi couture and headgear, ‘King Cave’ will soon be taken over the shoulder as an official club ambassador and Sports Direct signage is ceremonial in the manner of Saddam Hussein will be torn apart. Statue being demolished in Baghdad
The acquisition of Newcastle United by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is likely to prove to be an all-time low for the naive enough to believe in the existence of ethics in the Premier League.
Especially considering that the Taliban, Kim Jong-un and the Somali Pirates are too few to buy an English top-flight club.
But while you or I may care about the sordid nature of Newcastle’s bankrollers, let’s not joke with ourselves that virtually any supporter of the club gives stuff – just like any other group of fans would describe their club as the best in the world. Won’t see becoming rich and don’t think seriously about where any money comes from.
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Once the TV-piracy controversy was settled, the Premier League hierarchy couldn’t care less.
We have long passed the point where any line had to be drawn as to who could buy one of England’s major football clubs.
A generation ago, they were typically owned by relatively wealthy local businessmen, but it went out the window when Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, with only a cursory background check.
The human rights record of the Abu Dhabi regime that replaced Manchester City is also a lamentable one, though it is nowhere near as barbaric as Saudi Arabia.
And anyway, there really aren’t enough moral billionaires to roam the world.
For Premier League executives, it provides just one more exciting plot twist for the greatest show on earth, as did the rise of City following their Middle Eastern takeover in 2008. Another sheik, another shake-up.
The league table corresponds quite accurately with a rich list of club owners.
So as long as they are run by capable people, it is almost inevitable Newcastle will be Champions League regulars within three years and England champions within five.
Robinho’s signing from Real Madrid in 2008 and ‘Agueroo!’ Amidst City’s rise, the moment they sealed their first Premier League title four years later, was an entertaining one – and Newcastle should be equal.
First, the Saudis must sign some players in January to ensure they can avoid relegation.
Then perhaps they will try to recruit Galactico – as City chief executive Gary Cook went for Ballon d’Or winner Kaka and accused Brazil of ‘bottling’ it up by refusing.
Unable to attract genuine A-listers until they had established themselves in the elite, City signed flawed Mavericks such as Emmanuel Adabayor, Mario Balotelli, Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez and became a hugely entertaining circus.
So the Geordies can hope for a modern-day Tino Esprila or two before they land either Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland.
After being largely ignored by the wider world under Ashley, they will become an intriguing story until everyone gets bored of winning everything.
Several major Premier League clubs are clearly outraged at the sudden revival and conclusion of the Toon takeover. Of course they are, because it threatens them all.
There is currently a clear top four in English football – Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool – as was the case with Arsenal in situ rather than City for a lot of nuptials.
So Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, the least wealthy in that top four, will now panic, as will United, run at least well. The least stable Chelsea could also suffer.
And will City owners begin to lose their appeal to the Abu Dhabi crew, once they are no longer the best, richest sheikhs in the city? Perhaps.
Meanwhile, any hopes of former European Super League clubs Arsenal and Tottenham re-establishing themselves in the top four seem to be fast fading away.
And the ambitions of Leicester, West Ham and Everton, which have come close to challenging the current system, are now dimmed.
We are currently hearing a lot about Newcastle’s ‘long-suffering’ fans covering themselves with a strange romanticism that is only transcended by Liverpool supporters.
Ashley’s reign was joyless and his contempt for the locals was palpable, but he was not a doomed boss.
Other big clubs, such as Derby, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Sunderland, have fallen more and longer in recent years.
Nevertheless, the toon army can now enjoy the ride and the neutrals can enjoy the fun too. Until we hold our noses and try not to worry about that weird real human suffering in Saudi Arabia.
There are many exhausting elements for England who have to play San Marino and Andorra every few weeks.
As if scrappy-doo amateur player Gareth Southgate lets me go on an ’em, Uncle Scoob’ routine to start a fight with the Premier League’s Golden Boys.
Secondly, you can’t really learn anything from such matches.
Yes, Phil Foden looked impressive as a deep-set midfielder in Andorra on Saturday, but we can’t believe anything as he’s done it against butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers.
At least FIFA hasn’t admitted Vatican City – an independent state with a population of 825 – to the World Cup yet.
However it would be quite a spectacle to see England-land take out the dinner from the Pope’s inner circle.
Comparing players from different eras is completely pointless, but fun too.
We’ll never know the truth of Tyson Fury’s claim that he can beat any heavyweight in history.
But given that Fury weighs about four stone heavier than Muhammad Ali, and five stone more than Joe Louis – while still employing lightning speed and dancing legs – the Gypsy King’s claim is just as ridiculous. Not possible.
The saddest thing about boxing is that it’s not just speculative bar-room debate.
We could possibly see Fury fight another former great, Evander Holyfield, who boxed last month at the age of 58.
On seven of their last eight Ashes tours – except for the victorious 2010–11 tour led by Andrew Strauss – England have not won a Test, with the urn still on hold.
And while the team this winter is not as weak as we had feared, England have little chance of changing that trend, especially without Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.
Fair game for Joe Root and his men on the tour under tighter COVID restrictions. If he had come out, some people would have blamed him.
Keen cricket fan Steve Bruce will understand the pain of a batsman being dismissed for 99.
So soon the former Newcastle boss is set to be enraged if he is sacked ahead of Sunday’s visit to Spurs and finds himself helpless as manager in 999 matches.
But his multimillion-pound payout could perpetuate this statistical strangeness…
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