*Archie – who has lived and worked in the UAE for several years – on why it’s gone silent on the takeover front over the past few days*
You’re probably like me in that first thing in the morning you scour the ‘net looking for any sign of progress in the sale of Newcastle United to the UAE’s Sheikh Khaled. Or if we’re more truthful, to anyone really, just as long as it doesn’t stay with Ashley.
You’ll read anything that you don’t recognise, only to find out that you read it yesterday when it was reported by another site with a slightly less cryptic headline, and the day before that when it was first reported as an ‘exclusive’ by one of three newspapers which, if we’re honest, under normal circumstances we wouldn’t trust to give us the right date.
Well here’s some breaking news for you that you won’t see on any other site, or in any of the papers. Yesterday, in the main conference room of the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi at 4:05 pm, absolutely nothing happened that had anything at all to do with the sale of the club. Nothing happened! Not a thing!
I suggested in a previous article that nothing substantial would happen until mid to late June – and here’s why:
Yesterday was a Sunday, and as we all know not a lot happens in the UK on a Sunday anyway.
But today is the 3rd of June. Nothing special about that you may say? True, but in the UAE they don’t call it the third day of June – this year they call it the last day of Ramadan. Or they might – depending on the weather.
The Holy month of Ramadan is the month of the Islamic calendar when, during daylight hours all good Muslims, out of respect for their beliefs, refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and other personal pleasury things.
A side effect of this is that once the sun goes down, effectively all bets are off, and they socialise with their friends and family throughout the evening and usually well into the morning. This results in what can best be described as a “leisurely” approach to the working day. It’s generally just accepted that during the Holy month not a lot of business is going to get done.
Considering that throughout history the Arabs have been such renowned astronomers it may come as a shock to some of you that the day upon which Ramadan will officially finish cannot be announced ahead of time. There is a tradition that the new moon for the following month of Shawwal must actually be seen before the old month can end and the new one begin. If the moon is seen tonight by the official Moon Sighting Committee, then tomorrow is the first of Shawwal and it will have been a 29 day Ramadan. If the moon is not seen then it’s a 30 day month and Shawwal slips a day to the right.
After Ramadan comes the celebration of Eid Al Fitr, or the breaking of the fast of Ramadan. According to the UAE Government the Eid Holiday will last from the 29th day of Ramadan to the 3rd of Shawwal, so after a quiet Ramadan, from Tuesday onwards, this week is pretty much wiped out. Another well respected “tradition” is – if the holiday starts on the Tuesday, then you might as well make a week of it. You can bank on the office being empty the entire week.
Of the top 3 or 4 guys in the organization you can expect 2 will be on a longer break, out of the country with their families.
So using the above proven formula, I’d guess that Sunday the 16th of June is the earliest we can expect anything of substance from the UAE.
For those of you who read these articles thinking that some blog/hack/wannabe can tell you something here that none of the syndicated news channels or national newspapers have managed to pick up on, well in a way you were right. Nothing happened, and now you know why.