Newcastle United FC, a club that has always been known for its ‘Die-Hard’ passionate, Geordie supporters.
Most fans in England look forward to the weekend of football to watch their teams compete, but in the North East, it’s what their fans live for. However, Newcastle’s passion and drive haven’t always been there on the football pitch, or at board level for that matter.
Mike Ashley is the current owner of the club. Mike originally brought a 43% stake in the club back in May 2007, later going on to acquire the rest of the club for a combined cost of £189m.
It didn’t take the fans long to turn against him though, which wasn’t helped by Mike’s lack of funding for players and the controversial decision to change the name of their beloved ground to ‘Sports Direct Arena’, coincidentally named after the budget sports chain Sports Direct that he founded way back in 1982.
The latest move rebelled against by supporters is the decision to place all non-playing staff on to the government’s Furlough Scheme.
Throughout recent years there have been rumours of a takeover pretty much every season, eventually always fading away. Fans have become accustomed to getting their hopes up just for it to fall through.
However, if recent developments are as advanced as they’re reported to be, there could just be a breakthrough surrounding the ownership of the North East outfit. Mohammad Bin Salman, part of a Saudi Arabian consortium group, is on the verge of completing a £300m takeover of Newcastle United.
Mohammad Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is believed to have a net worth of £660bn, music to the ears of those supporting the black and white army.
Here we discover three priorities that should be on the mind of the Prince and his board should they complete this takeover.
Getting the fans back on side
In what could prove their most challenging action, getting the fans to buy into their philosophy must be central to the plans of the new owners.
They’ve been fed lies, broken promises, and at times felt embarrassed at the way their club has been run compared to other Premier League teams.
The fans will be demanding honesty, passion, and when the Transfer Window comes along to put their money where their mouth is.
Improving the squad
After a surprisingly active summer transfer window in 2019, the club’s rare expenditure on players hasn’t quite worked out how they were hoping. With the acquisitions of Joelinton, Emil Krafth, and Allan Saint-Maximin, only the latter has shown promising signs in their debut season.
With great funding behind the club, fans believe that with the history and reputation they hold, they will be able to attract bigger talents than they ever have before.
Nonetheless, the owners must be careful not to just splash the cash carefree and instead invest in a profound recruitment team to target the right talents. A harsh lesson has been learnt with current record signing Joelinton. For a fee of £39.6m, he has provided a pitiful three goal contributions to the team this season.
The managerial situation at the club could prove one of the most interesting for the fans.
Steve Bruce took over the reigns from popular figure Rafael Benitez last summer, with his time at the club so far not providing much excitement around the club.
Good old social media has got us all talking about future replacements for Bruce should the new owners come in, with odds being slashed on the board making an instant move for Massimiliano Allegri.
What the Saudi Arabian group will have to consider, is Steve Bruce appealing enough to prise the bigger players into working with the club? Could there be a shock approach to former manager Rafael Benitez with a huge budget promised?
Don’t get me wrong, Newcastle fans won’t be getting carried away until they see the press conference of the new owners. If they do, these points will be certain to come into play when they judge their new owners’ priorities.