There’s always been a sense that for fortune to change on the takeover front for Newcastle, there would need to be a huge swing in how geopolitics work in the Middle East.
Although nothing has visibly changed as of yet on the football side of things, there has been some very definitive movement on the bigger stage.
It has been reported that Saudi Arabia and Qatar will sign an agreement in which they agree to open airspace, land and sea borders showing that the two countries are slowly coming together.
It sounds mad to report it but Newcastle really could be in a position where our fortune is dictated by two countries, thousands of miles away, starting to be more civil with each other.
This could be a massive hurdle removed considering pirated TV rights and the blocking of BeIN Sports in Saudi appeared to be a major issue behind the ‘failed’ bid, with the Premier League’s biggest overseas broadcaster previously demanding that Richard Masters ‘block’ the £300m bid back in April 2020.
The Athletic’s Matt Slater tweeted just last month that this crucial piracy issue is ‘fixable’ – so we’ll have to hope the latest movements in Saudi create a positive domino effect regarding the Premier League’s stance on a potential takeover:
With Newcastle seeming unable to jump to any significant height on the field and fans in dire need of some genuine hope heading into 2021, the Middle East development is certainly welcomed.
Personally, I have been in a strange limbo of pessimism and optimism recently regarding the takeover. When I looked up the definition of this mood, it simply read: A Newcastle Fan. So, even though the pessimism is eagerly pulling at my ankles and desperately trying to pull me down into the depressing realism of Steve Bruce’s bacon grease, I’m currently feeling a stronger pull towards actual meaning and hope for the future of our football club.
Whatever your feelings on the takeover saga are, with all its dodgy nuts and bolts, there’s never been a doubt that this thing feels more significant than any of the other strange takeover links we’ve had in the past. For one thing, a sale was actually agreed between Mike Ashley and PIF, and that’s more than we’ve had from anyone else before. There was a sense of realness and inevitability in the air before the Premier League and Qatar handily put a stop to all of it.
It probably wouldn’t be too far off to suggest that really it was Qatar using the Premier League to put a pin in the deal due to their significant links to the league with their football channel, Bein. They felt a certain sort of way about Saudi Arabia due to allegations of piracy and the like, so they simply wanted to get their own back and flex their muscles in a place that they had real influence. They, of course, succeeded to a large degree and the deal fell dead into the water.
However, as mentioned earlier, hope is significantly starting to rise in even some of the most pessimistic Newcastle fans reading the latest news. Supposed letters from Bein to other Premier League clubs have been leaked and massive movement on a geopolitical scale have started to occur. Seemingly, things are finally falling in favour of Newcastle and it may not be too ridiculous to dream of a world where we’re not waiting to see if we’re going to sign Nabil Bentaleb on loan for the 50th time.
Everything is still ifs and buts at the moment, but this news certainly can’t do any harm for the potential resurrection of the takeover. It may be now that we should move our eagle eyes from spotting planes to spotting political developments in the Middle East.
Is this a case of neighbours becoming best friends with Saudi Arabia and Qatar? No, but this stuff can only help when the impasse last year only made the £300m deal more difficult to pass.