I have a confession. I’ve had every variation of #NUFCtakeover muted on Twitter for about 18 months.
I promised myself I wouldn’t get caught up in the hype of the takeover news last year, because we’d been there before. But I’m a sucker for #cans, and before I knew it, I was drawn in.
I remember arbitrary dates for the takeover completion being thrown out. The last week in March. A certain date in April. It was definitely, 100%, cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-die going to happen in May 2020 after that.
As every deadline passed, I felt my heart sink a little lower. When it was confirmed that Staveley and PIF had withdrawn, it felt like a wrecking ball to the gut.
Congratulations, Premier League, you filibustered the takeover.
Even as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if our hearts are going to be broken yet again. I rolled my eyes when I saw the takeover trending on Twitter.
July 2020 feels like about 12 years ago, so forgive me if I get the following order wrong. But news started to trickle out about why the takeover wasn’t happening after the buyers pulled out. We found out that the “top six” clubs had a say in the matter. The piracy battle between Saudi Arabia and Qatar was brought to light. And Richard Masters’ clear personal involvement was also revealed.
We’ve been told that the piracy issue was the biggest blocker to the takeover. I’m sceptical about that. But there’s no doubt that lifting of the BeIN Sport ban in Saudi Arabia is good news. Especially because some of the most trusted journalists working on NUFC seem confident about it. Don’t they say it’s the hope that kills you?
A lot of sources say we could be mere hours away from the takeover, and my past experience with these matters has me waiting for something else to go wrong.
Could it really be happening?
Although any moment in the past 14 years would have been an ideal time for a takeover, there’s probably never been a moment more perfect. I’ve never seen supporter morale so low in my 29 years of life as an NUFC sufferer.
My own morale has never been as low. It’s pathetic, but I treasured the fact that I hadn’t missed a home match in over 11 years, and at almost any other point in those 11 years, missing one would have been unthinkable. But I’ve broken my run, because Steve Bruce has left me the least interested in NUFC I’ve ever been.
I sold my Wolves ticket back to the club. There were a few factors at play here, largely that I’ve been recovering from a bug and needed a quiet weekend. But that’s never stopped me before. I just couldn’t be bothered.
We had 18 months of not being able to go to the football. I was itching to get back, even though I knew the quality of the football would be horrendous. But two months in, I’m already sick of it. I’ve sacked off a couple of games already, and the only thing that keeps pulling me in is the #cans (read: vodkas) before and after the actual football.
I know so many people who also feel like this, and I’ve never seen them care less either. The idea of another relegation – which will absolutely happen if Bruce is manager for much longer – makes me feel sick, because we won’t come back up this time. But at the same time, I’ve never felt so emotionally detached from the football. Mike Ashley has chipped away at our passion for years, but Steve Bruce has been working up to delivering the final blow.
We’ll never stop supporting the club, of course. But wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy supporting it again?
And it would be even nicer if our new overlords’ first announcement was the sacking of Steve Bruce.
It would be remiss of me to not address the elephant in the room, which is Saudi involvement in the club. But I’ll keep it short. There’s no evidence the Saudi state will be controlling the club (that would make me uneasy), and I think it’s irresponsible of journalists like Miguel Delaney to suggest so. But these people seem to conveniently forget that there’s a lot of evidence that Mike Ashley runs a borderline sweatshop in the UK. He never should have passed this shambolic “fit and proper owners” test.
Instead of p*****g on our parade and trying to make us feel guilty for something that you can’t prove, just let us be happy for once, eh?