Reporters across the North-East have reacted to the Daily Mail’s big reveal that Mohammed Bin Salman personally contacted Boris Johnson in a bid to push the Newcastle United takeover through last year.
One who has given a typically forthright response is The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, with his take on the Saudi prince’s alleged intervention particularly damning.
Edwards believes this does nothing to help Newcastle United win their arbitration case against the Premier League, feeling it’s a ‘massive own goal’ as it only intensifies concerns that the Saudi state and PIF (which MBS is chairman of) were separate entities.
Here’s what he’s had to say on Twitter in full:
‘So the Crown Prince buyers said would have nothing to do with NUFC called PM to ask him to intervene so that the takeover by PIF, of which he is chairman, could be forced through. Good luck winning an arbitration case which focuses on Saudi State control of PIF. Massive own goal
‘We already knew government had briefly got involved last summer before backing off, but fact Crown Prince was directly and personally involved surely proves Premier League were correct to ask what his involvement would be. He is chairman of PIF and absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia.
‘Oh arbitration case hasn’t started yet. So nothing would appear to be imminent. Premier League remain supremely confident in their legal defence of their application of their own owners and directors test. What we are left with is Mike Ashley shutting a shop and sacking staff
‘Couple more things. Since last summer the Crown Prince has been named by USA as being directly responsible for the murder of a journalist by a hit squad transported by planes owned by PIF. So, sorry for once again being the voice of scepticism but surely you can see problem‘
Bin Salman’s alleged intervention will raise questions, however I also read it as him taking matters into his own hands to make it clear that the PIF and Saudi royal family were separate entities.
Perhaps he only did this because he believed the Premier League were wrong to categorise both under the same banner – yet it seems some see his attempt to voice this to the Prime Minister as shooting themselves in the foot.
Either way, this tedious saga has dragged on too long and continues to toy with the emotions of Newcastle United fans desperately wanting ambitious new owners to end Mike Ashley’s miserable 14 years on Tyneside.
Let’s hope the arbitration case goes our way and this can all be put to bed sooner rather than later!