“I’m Not a Murderer – Some of my Best Friends Are Alive”
(Sean Lock, Tyne Theatre 10 November 2010)
To be fair to Newcastle United they tried to be the good guys.
Under Bobby Robson Newcastle had a team of excellent and solid pros (Shearer, Speed, Given) aligned with hungry youth (Dyer, Jenas) and maverick genius that our manager could harness like nobody else (Robert, Bellamy). We had a vast, mobilised fan base and a team that, unlike the Man Utd and Arsenal teams of the time, didn’t mob officials, systematically cheat and demand privilege. It was the most enjoyable period of my footballing life (Keegan was fun but too stressful and clearly unsustainable) and we could give anybody a game. Anybody. We fucked up somewhere between buying the malign influence that is Lee Bowyer and losing to Partisan Belgrade in a Champions League qualifier. Our ability to bounce back from these mistakes was stymied because Abramovich had arrived at Chelsea and we were muscled back a place, we panicked and employed Souness.
Nobody asked where the money came from but Chelsea carry themselves with that Knightsbridge sense of entitlement, which is why other football fans hate them but why they continued to get away with it. By the time Man City barged into the Champions League slots Newcastle, now under Mike Ashley, had stopped having any aspirations of competing.
Football in 2021 is nasty. It is a grotesque circus of corruption and polished gangsterism pretending to be fair, inclusive and for everybody. The Newcastle takeover has thrown a hand grenade into that façade – which is one of the reasons I love it. I love it and I can justify loving it.
The objections and complaints against the takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi backed PIF Investment Group basically boils down to: “You have crossed a line.”
So there is “a line”, is there? And who drew that? Is it the same line between our government pimping out the actual Queen to gladhand the Saudis into buying our missiles to bomb children in The Yemen and reporters badgering Newcastle fans for accepting “blood money”?
Olli Holt wrote a very convincing piece for The Mail on Sunday about accepting “Blood Money” – so convincing in fact that you can’t escape the feeling that being paid to write about Newcastle United is also accepting “Blood Money – or doesn’t “Blood Money” drip that far?
Why are we getting involved with these people?
Well, let’s flip that a minute just for the hell of it. Why are Saudi people getting involved with us? Can you imagine some hardliners sitting around in Riyadh saying, “Why are we getting involved with this lot? They drink more alcohol than any other supporter base in the world, they are the descendants of barbarous, debauched pagans, their women-folk are notoriously unruly and they have a vibrant LGBT+ community. This is pretty much everything we try to supress in this country. We’re outraged!”
The biggest teams in England (and Spurs) are reportedly unhappy with this deal.
Perhaps if they don’t like it they could go and form their own League and ….. oh hang on they tried that didn’t they… didn’t go very well did it? So perhaps our biggest teams (and Spurs) should sit quietly and remain thankful that they weren’t all expelled from European competition for 5 years – like what should have happened.
At this point I should remind my reader that I am massively pro-Amnesty International. I once wrote that we should pay them to have their logo on our replica shirts. This is a deal that I would understand them being conflicted about now but Amnesty work mostly by raising awareness don’t they? Well what are we doing right here right now if not raising awareness to previously unwitnessed levels? “Sportswashing” doesn’t work in Newcastle, look at what happened to Wonga. Whatever the opposite of “Sportswashing” is…. that’s what we do. You’re welcome.
The narrative seems to be that the PIF Investment group stopped murdering people on the Wednesday, made a half-hearted attempt to wipe the blood off their hands and then wrote a cheque to Mike Ashley on the Thursday. So, people criticising us have to be actively boycotting anything else the group have already heavy investment in or shut the hell up. This includes, among others: Disney (which covers Marvel so no Spiderman pyjamas), Facebook, Starbucks, EA Sports (that’s your “FIFA” games right there), Uber, BP, Live Nation (the gig ticket people), Boeing and Pfizer.
So I love this takeover. I love it mostly for the vast untapped well of enthusiasm and optimism it threatens to unleash but I also love it for unmasking the hypocrites and duplicitous governing bodies and I can justify loving it. I can justify loving it but in an age where dipshits actively avoid a vaccine that could save their worthless lives because they won’t listen to fucking reason – I’m not going to.
People want to paint us as the bad guys. Fine. We’re the bad guys. Let’s see how that works out for you.