The ethical dilemma facing NUFC fans if a Sheikh Khaled takeover goes through…

Like most football supporters, Newcastle United fans are happy to ignore ethics when it comes to the ownership of the club so long as Mike Ashley sells up.

Since the Premier League season ended, we Newcastle United fans have been subjected to a wealth of speculation: Speculation about the manager’s contract, speculation about his replacement, speculation about transfer funds, speculation about transfers, speculation about a takeover. Speculate to accumulate, so the saying goes.

Amongst all this conjecture, I’ve yet to read anything delving into the ethical vortex of our football club being essentially owned by a member of one of the royal families that through a federation of absolute monarchies preside over a regime notorious for violating human rights. A nation under Sharia law, where capital punishment is administered by stoning, hanging or a firing squad. Where you can be flogged for up to 80 lashes for consuming alcohol unless in a licensed venue, or sentenced to death for being homosexual. There is no such thing as Freedom of Speech in the United Arab Emirates and dissenters frequently go missing in suspicious circumstances. Torture is common practice in custody. Many migrant workers are essentially indentured servants at the mercy of their employers/owners.

Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan is an Emirati member of the Al Nahyan ruling family of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and his Bin Zayed Group look likely to acquire Newcastle United

The list goes on, and I haven’t even covered women’s rights, but then neither has the UAE, really. They’re too busy, along with the Saudis, helping to tear apart Yemen, where more than 60,000 people have been killed since 2016. Of course, as a Brit our hands aren’t exactly clean when it comes to the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world at this moment in time, what with all the arms we’ve sold and continue to sell to Saudi Arabia. Not to mention the state of the world generally, colonialism and the empire, Northern Ireland, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — our foreign policy generally. Proud to be British? These days especially. I won’t even mention Brexit. God save the queen that welcomes and entertains Donald Trump, the racist, sexist, adulterous, most powerful man on the planet, who bankrupted two of his companies, received a million-dollar loan from his father, and doesn’t believe in climate change despite the report published on Tuesday that under current global policy, civilisation could well be over by 2050. Perhaps if the Bin Zayed Group acquires us we’ll have won a trophy by then. Small mercies, aye. Even if nobody’s around to read the record books, somewhere in the ether our intangible souls will remember a veteran Sean Longstaff holding aloft the Champions League trophy.  

Mike Ashley, Newcastle United owner for 12 years, in which time the club have been relegated twice from the Premier League having previously been relegated 4 times in 117 years

Newcastle United supporters are acutely aware of the current owner’s felonies and misdemeanours, from the undermining and unfair dismissal of Kevin Keegan to the two relegations we’ve suffered under his watch and the lack of ambition and failure to invest in a club with the potential to challenge for trophies. The absurdities and limitations of his ownership have been felt on the terraces and witnessed on pitches from St. James’ Park to Bournemouth. And as for his business practices, the way he’s made and continues to make his money… well, a parliamentary enquiry found that Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct treats its workers without dignity or respect, as commodities rather than human beings, with staff often paid less than the legal minimum wage, more than 3,000 warehouse workers on short-term temporary contracts, and the company’s working practices described as appalling. Indeed, Sports Direct’s very success is founded on this business model. Yet the logos of Ashley’s Victorian workhouse litter our great stadium for a nominal fee after years of disgracing St. James’ Park for free. The Sports Direct Arena. For shame.



Sir John Hall, the Thatcherite property magnate who presided over Newcastle United’s most successful period in recent history

How about John Hall? Mr Newcastle, the owner who helped transform our beloved club from one destined for the old Third Division to a team that beat Barcelona in the Champions League with no less than eight of the starting line-up from the UK and Ireland. A man who wanted a team full of Geordie world-beaters. The man who sold Newcastle United to Mike Ashley, subjecting us to twelve years of tears, who donated heavily to the Conservative Party, who had tea with Thatcher, who spoke of how she took away union power but gave us the power to do things, whatever that means (what exactly did her servants put in their tea?). Thatcher was the Prime Minister who said that there’s no such thing as society and foisted upon us, along with the former Hollywood actor and US President Ronald Reagan, the neoliberal reality that has increased wealth disparity to levels unseen since the 1920s. Privatisation and deregulation have accelerated across the developed world since Ayn Rand’s disciples essentially ran things, even by a governing Labour Party under the Thatcherite Tony Blair. We’ve been told that the transition to a world run solely for profit and to the detriment of its citizens and the environment can no longer be reversed; that there is no alternative to capitalism. That we’ll all be gone by 2050. Cheers, John. You’re not directly to blame but clearly you put your money into the wrong party. And now we’re all doomed. But hey, back then we had a great team. Thanks for the memories. And Mike Ashley. What a legacy.

Margaret Thatcher’s and Ronald’s Reagan’s free market policies have increased inequality in the UK and US to levels not seen since the 1920s. Wealth disparity had been decreasing in those countries between the 1940s and the 1970s

I suppose that the real problem here is that despite the existence of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, the club we love will never be owned by its fans and in this world run solely for profit, there aren’t many ethical obscenely rich people knocking about, and none of these hypothetical unicorns appear to be interested in owning a football club, or at least our one. So in case it hasn’t already occurred to them, I’d like to encourage Mark Knopfler, Brian Johnson, Sting, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Jimmy Nail, Ant and Dec and aye, because he’s not short of a bob or two, even the odious Tony Blair, to pool resources and buy Newcastle United and turn it into a fan-owned, trust-controlled club. We could be the next Borussia Dortmund. Or AFC Wimbledon.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) would ideally like to see Newcastle United owned and run by the club’s supporters rathan than outsiders that see it as nothing more than a business

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

   

44 thoughts on “The ethical dilemma facing NUFC fans if a Sheikh Khaled takeover goes through…

  1. No-one is more unethical than Mikey. I dont care if the
    Sheik is 5ha88!ng everyone elses wife or is indeed a mass murderer, ANYTHING is better than Ashley.

      (Quote)

  2. What a load of crap, you mention the Queen for welcoming Donald Trump but no mention of the Chinese President, the PLO, Hamas, Iran and Venezuela?

    Stick to footy and not peddling your left wing agenda mate

      (Quote)

  3. I really dont think this Blog is the right place for political rhetoric of any kind from any party or side – I radically disagree with most of the content of the article which is undoubtedly presented from a one sided and biased point of view – Lets stick to matters purely football and NUFC in particular and if the club being owned by the supporters trust gets us to the level of AFC Wimbledon then thanks but no thanks – and whatever you say about John Hall when he put his money where his mouth is we were in danger of slipping into the old third division.

      (Quote)

  4. I’ve not seen many City fans bothered, too busy winning. The BZG doesn’t seem to have those levels of funds availible to them, Sheikh Khaled has no political influence at all in the UAE. But if it got us a trophy i wouldn’t care if he did, people only talk about human rights because they’re jealous their club wasn’t picked like City were.

      (Quote)

  5. I understand that this is an outside view but having lived and worked in UAE for 8 years, it is very far from the truth. It has it’s own rules and culture but is undoubtedly one of the safest and most tolerant placed in the world to live and work.

      (Quote)

  6. Most of the stuff in the article is mis informed rubbish. Only Muslims would be punished for drinking alcohol, unless they are being obnoxious. And just because our justice is soft on anti social behaviour doesn’t mean everyone else should. As for the indentured Servants the author mentions, in UAE everyone is paid by the state. That is the Government pay your wages and then recoup the money from the Employer. If you are legally working you are guaranteed your pay.

      (Quote)

  7. This is a whole lot of garbage, take your leftist view else where. We are talking football here not politics, if they sheik buys Newcastle and turn our club to a successful football, who cares about their political leanings? If we can tolerate the current British Government, we can tolerate the Sheik. They look like nice people anyway, at least, tgeyvare communicating with us unlike the fat ****ney mafia owner

      (Quote)

  8. It takes some crust for anyone to lecture (at quite some length) NUFC fans on ethics, with particular regard to Sheikh Khaled’s bid to buy the club from Mike Ashley, then without even a trace of irony, he suggests Tony Blair as the kind of person he would prefer to have running the club.

    I feel bound to ask, would this be the same Tony Blair who repeatedly lied through his teeth at the despatch box in the House of Commons about the supposed weapons of mass destruction held by Saddam Hussein prior to the Iraq invasion, thereby being party to the deaths of many thousands of of innocent civilians, as well as hundreds of our own armed forces?

      (Quote)

  9. Defo the wrong place for politics, what ever happens in UAE that’s their laws and nothing to do with Newcastle. Any good news for Newcastle fans …someone tries to put a negative twist on it. It’s not done deal YET and ye get these articles. Ffs. Fans deserve a flood of money spent regardless who is pumping it in, for putting up with Ashley and his penny pinching the previous 12 years

      (Quote)

  10. All NUFC fans and westerners in general need to know that this guy hasn’t a clue what he is talking about. I’ve lived in the UAE for 3 years and have experienced first hand the ethics of the people here and I couldn’t be happier if Khaled buys the club.
    Almost everything said above is, at best outdated and at worse completely false. It’s true that there is a huge population of migrant workers but they are here by choice and many are paid well compared to potential income in their home countries. It’s also true that we are not permitted to go on social media and slag off religion in any form (including Christianity) but that’s because religious values still mean something here. We also can’t speak out against the ruling family either but, truth be told we wouldn’t want to. They have excellent values. What you have written about women’s rights is laughable too. Women are on an absolute pedestal here and often have VIP treatment when men are left to line up for hours. The UAE space mission to Mars is led by a woman. No rights???? No idea more like. Lastly, I’m pretty sure the average emirati wouldn’t go on line and falsely criticise an entire country without knowing any of the facts. Shame on you #howaythelads

      (Quote)

  11. Ok but, why just generalise an individual for his nations antics. We not too long ago went and invaded Iraq and killed thousands of civilians and subsequently led to the rise of Isis. Also just look at the history if the British Empire. People in glass houses and all that….

    Why don’t instead look at the Bin Zayed group investment in Telangana that is worthwhile compared with our current owner where Mike Ashley’s Sports direct factories in Asia where his garments are being made in child labour factories!!

      (Quote)

  12. What a pile of c.rap… Olly how can you let stuff like this onto the blog. I live in Dubai. This article is absolute bolloc.ks. This writer has no clue about life in the UAE… it boils my blood to see rubbish like this spread about with no basis in fact… 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡… the UAE is one of the easiest and most tolerant places to live. My wife and I feel safer walking around in Dubai, than We do back home in Newcastle…

      (Quote)

  13. Never heard such a load of left wing bo**ocks in my life!! Jesus!! Who wrote this?? Arthur Scargill, Jeremy Corbyn or Michael Foot?? Fan run club, stupid idea, I mean look at Rushden and Diamonds, they were on the cusp of the football league, had a ground most clubs would be jealous of and a decent enough supporter base. They were fans were gifted the club by Max Griggs, the chairman and within three years had run it into the ground. The stadium has recently been demolished and the club ground shares a field with Wellingborough FC and Kettering Town. We all think we could run a football club, but when it comes to the crunch, we haven’t got the ability or cash!!!

      (Quote)

  14. Freedom of speech is wonderful. We don’t have to read this bull**** but I for one am glad that anyone can write what they want. Having a go at Thatcher and Reagan seems fairly ridiculous and very tenuous. John was a pit surveyor who always had a big idea and got lucky with the metro center. Before him we were mainly fan owned due to the season ticket holding share scheme. It was a dark time in our history as cliques and money hungry men exploited our club. The halls and shepherds were hardly saints, thought of most fans as idiots and took huge directors dues leaving the club in a terrible state. Man city’s owner has invested heavily in the local community without putting forward any of his social, political or religious views. Sounds a fantastic model for our club and city.

      (Quote)

  15. Since when is it ‘leftist’ to be concerned about human rights? How is it ‘politics’ to care about workers rights?

    I’ve loved Newcastle United since I was a boy, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t sometimes struggled with issues of principle surrounding the game. It’s not perfect by any stretch, and the inflated money involved really is shameful. We overlook it, because we need something to do on a weekend. But what’s the limit on how much we can overlook?

    The point of this article, surely, is to at least put into words the awkward situation many fans, including me, will find themselves in if we are indeed bought by Sheikh Khaled. To dismiss it and in some cases even defend the UAE as just having a different culture, is depressing.

    Worst comment? ‘it’s a football club, man’. God forbid we actually use our brains and think about things other than winning.

      (Quote)

  16. Joe:
    Since when is it ‘leftist’ to be concerned about human rights? How is it ‘politics’ to care about workers rights?

    I’ve loved Newcastle United since I was a boy, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t sometimes struggled with issues of principle surrounding the game. It’s not perfect by any stretch, and the inflated money involved really is shameful. We overlook it, because we need something to do on a weekend. But what’s the limit on how much we can overlook?

    The point of this article, surely, is to at least put into words the awkward situation many fans, including me, will find themselves in if we are indeed bought by Sheikh Khaled. To dismiss it and in some cases even defend the UAE as just having a different culture, is depressing.

    Worst comment? ‘it’s a football club, man’.God forbid we actually use our brains and think about things other than winning.

    Go watch Gateshead or Blyth Spartans then.

      (Quote)

  17. Since when is it ‘leftist’ to be concerned about human rights? How is it ‘politics’ to care about workers rights?

    You are avoiding the point, it may not be ‘leftist’ to be concerned about human rights, we should all be concerned about them. However, in this instance it is hypocritical to indulge in criticism of Middle Eastern culture, when in the fairly recent memory of most of us, a British prime minister took this country to war on the back of a pack of lies, an illegal war that resulted in hundreds of thousands being killed. In a nutshell, people who dwell in glass houses are ill-advised to start throwing stones, and the author of this opinion piece seems to think that mass murderer Tony Blair is a good choice to be running NUFC. If that isn’t sheer hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.

      (Quote)

  18. I for one think it’s important to look at all sides of this. To say football nowadays is not politics is just plain ignorant. And to say that human rights IS politics is just stupid.

    Don’t agree on the Blair-suggestion, but over all well and importantly said.

    How anyone can get as upset as many obviously have over this is classic “I’ve-never-read-a-book-and-I-only-care-about-what-affects-me-directly-norm-drenched-nu-right-wing” sh*te.

    Keep it up!

      (Quote)

  19. Magnus Pie:
    I for one think it’s important to look at all sides of this. To say football nowadays is not politics is just plain ignorant. And to say that human rights IS politics is just stupid.

    Don’t agree on theBlair-suggestion, but over all well and importantly said.

    How anyone can get as upset as many obviously have over this is classic “I’ve-never-read-a-book-and-I-only-care-about-what-affects-me-directly-norm-drenched-nu-right-wing” sh*te.

    Keep it up!

    again, if you don’t like it join the other soys and go watch the non league sides. Simple.

      (Quote)

  20. Have you ever been to the UAE? No? Thought not!
    Please keep your extreme views away from us, and while as a society we try to integrate and respect all, your views are offensive, divisive, and not representative of the Geordie people.

      (Quote)

  21. 54times: again, if you don’t like it join the other soys and go watch the non league sides. Simple.

    If I don’t like what?

      (Quote)

  22. BillyTheFish:
    Have you ever been to the UAE?

    No? Thought not!
    Please keep your extreme views away from us, and while as a society we try to integrate and respect all, your views are offensive, divisive, and not representative of the Geordie people.

    Have you ever been a native there? A woman? Or gay?

    No? Thought not. (I might be wrong)

      (Quote)

  23. Funnily enough there are many societies in history that had little regard for human rights, and caused many of the citizens extreme grief, yet for those with privilege they were safe places to walk the streets and amiable societies. Funnily enough I ave not visited those historical societies, but I know that was the case. I understand that is the case still in may societies today. Again, I don’t need to visit them to know that. I’m not sure about the two wrongs make a right, those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, nor do I believe that all Geordies think the same and therefore can be misrepresented as a whole. As to the if you don’t like it go away argument I refer back to my original point. As to the article I dont agree with all of it, but to be fair it has generated more comment than most on here.

      (Quote)

  24. Billy being both a woman’s and a man’s name, and sexual orientation being nameless.

      (Quote)

  25. 54times: always makes me laugh when white racists try to hide their racism behind “human rights”. You talked about books before, here’s a recommendation https://www.amazon.co.uk/Humanitarian-Imperialism-Using-Human-Rights/dp/1583671471/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=humanitarian+imperialism&qid=1559906956&s=gateway&sr=8-1

    You didn’t answer my questions. On top of that you called my racist. And white. And didn’t explain why. Please. Please. Please. Explain to me why you would call me a racist! Was it because the language barrier made me write native instead of local. English is not my first language. And that was an honest mistake. That half of the world has English as as their first language is not a mistake. It’s a rape.

      (Quote)

  26. The book you suggested seems right up my alley. But it from what I understand more being an explanation of how human rights have been used for gains, more than it has being critical of the expression and meaning itself.

      (Quote)

  27. Yes, worked and lived in Dubai for 2 years with my wife and kids, and actually is a safer place than London where I am now.
    My wife was free to travel where she wanted when she wanted and in either our car, taxi or bus.
    Not being gay I cannot comment, but while I was there I never saw any gay people being stoned, in fact the only problems I saw were from fat drunk idiots from the UK posing as business people.

      (Quote)

  28. gilberto:
    What a load of crap, you mention the Queen for welcoming Donald Trump but no mention of the Chinese President, the PLO, Hamas, Iran and Venezuela?

    Stick to footy and not peddling your left wing agenda mate

    This bears repeating.
    Very disappointing that NUFC Blog would allow extremely biased piece, completely alienating likely half their readership.

      (Quote)

  29. BillyTheFish:
    Yes,worked and lived in Dubai for 2 years with my wife and kids, and actually is a safer place than London where I am now.
    My wife was free to travel where she wanted when she wanted and in either our car, taxi or bus.
    Not being gay I cannot comment, but while I was there I never saw any gay people being stoned, in fact the only problems I saw were from fat drunk idiots from the UK posing as business people.

    So you cannot be called an expert in the issue then. Thanks for your answers though.

      (Quote)

  30. Since when is working for 2 years in Dubai the same as having an idea of injustices in UAE?

    My Allah.

      (Quote)

  31. John: (Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

    An article responding to it is on its way from Archie Brand!

    I appreciate there’s been a VERY mixed reaction to this article, but it may seem unfair if we did not allow fan contributions just because their opinion doesn’t agree with our own.

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green