Are the fans about to get what they want?

In this modern world where everyone has an opinion and a laptop, it’s difficult to be anything even approaching original online.

To quote the great philosopher Dick Solomon, “I happen to know that every word in your article was published years ago. Perhaps you’ve read ‘The dictionary’”.

So rather than trying to be wholly original let’s just aim a wee bit lower and try not be too repetitive? Yep – it’s a bit of a radical approach on the internet these days but let’s give it a go.

There has been a bit of activity on the Companies House website with the filing by Amanda Staveley of two separate documents titled ‘resolution of allotment of securities’.

These appear to detail how the club can deal with loans – with the interesting bit from my viewpoint being what seems to be the legal groundwork allowing money that is invested in the club (or loaned) to be converted into shares.

In an ideal world this would be an opportunity for someone like NUST to put their accumulated donations into the club in return for a (very limited) shareholding, achieving their long stated goal of owning part of the club, and giving the fans a (very limited) say in the running of the club.

This would be a master stroke from Staveley and Co. Having kept the Saudis interested through all the EPL shenanigans, then bringing in Eddie Howe, could they now be about to get ahead of the game and venture into a voluntary version of (very limited) fan ownership?

Or is this just a not so subtle business manoeuvre intended to help the club circumnavigate the Financial Fair Play rules? Obviously, this could very quickly redefine the official ownership percentages, with additional shares going to whoever lobs the money into the pot, and I don’t think you need to be Mystic Meg to guess which party will be the biggest investor.

Here’s a joke you for you.

A man goes into a bar, walks up to a gorgeous girl and asks “if I gave you a million quid in cash, would you sleep with me”. Without a second’s thought the girl says “yes!”

“OK.” Rummaging around in his pockets the bloke pulls out a five pound note and asks “would you sleep with me for a fiver?”

“Of course not”, says the girl indignantly. “What do you think I am?”

He looks up. “We’ve already established what you are – we’re just haggling over the price!”

The first time I heard that joke was when a mate tried it on in a bar with a very attractive girl who was standing nearby with her friends. He got a slap in the face for his efforts. We got a damn good laugh!

You may ask “how is this related to anything?” It’s a bit closer to home than you may think.

I fall firmly into that group of people who were sure that the takeover would never happen.
Human rights, piracy, the patriarchal state and all that kind of stuff, but that’s not the focus of this article, per se.

Now the dust has settled I just have one simple question for my fellow Geordie fans. If all of the allegations made against our new Saudi owners were proven to be 100% correct tomorrow, would you still be happy with the new owners?  I use the word “still” there assuming you are currently happy.

Rather oddly, fans don’t usually try to defend our owners by claiming they are innocent so much as they try to mitigate their reputation with things like “what about Man City?”, or “the government sells weapons to Saudi”, or even “the UK’s human rights record isn’t so hot”, but let’s not get into that stuff again (and again). Today it’s a straightforward question.

If all of the bad stuff we’ve heard about the Saudi regime was proven to be true, would you still be happy with our new owners?

I have no problems with the deal. Nothing to do with my opinion on human rights etc. I’m comfortable with it because my family lived in Saudi for a while, and we were happy to accept a paycheck from their government. It would therefore be seriously hypocritical of me to complain about them buying the club.

I’m many things, but a hypocrite aint one of them!

The only thing I do hope, though, is that we build a solid team from the bottom up, rather than just going out on day one and buying trophies. Okay, on day 83.

While Howe would not have been my first choice as manager – and probably not even in my top ten – I think we have to be realistic in accepting that for the rest of the year he’s still lumbered with the same squad that took 15 games to get  a win on the board, and by the time he can do anything about it half the season will be over.

That said, years ago a group of us went to a match, taking a few kids with us. At half time we were two down and comments were flying about what a shower the team was, when a 10 year old piped up “if they can score two goals in the first half why can’t we just score three in the second half?”

The simple musings of a ten year old!

We won the match 3-2.  So while we may not reach safety in the first half of the season, a combination of a handful of decent players in January and poor performances from the teams around us puts survival well within our grasp. So long as we get the players through the door quickly in January. While the next five fixtures may be a bit tricky, the first 8 fixtures of the new year are very winnable.

I’m not too concerned just yet. After all, surely we can just score three in the second half?

3 thoughts on “Are the fans about to get what they want?

  1. Good article. Better than most I’ve read on here. To answer your question, I am happy with the current owners because they managed to to pass the test to buy the club. Simple as that. If the test is flawed in some way then I assume that the owners of several other clubs would fail any revised or amended test. Finally, I believe that fans should have some share in the club they support and some influence in the direction of the club.


  2. Interesting to see the read the first two comments.

    One says the fans should have a say in the direction of the club while the next one says NUST should stop the pointless fundraising scheme and give the money to charity.
    I say interesting because the the second kind of cancels out the first.
    I agree with the comment that the NUST scheme is pointless. The limitations of the scheme were highlighted when they first said they wanted to buy the ENTIRE club from Ashley. This goal was so outrageously over ambitious that they very quickly had to have a rethink, and downscale to buying a 1% share – 3 million quids worth. This revised target is of course dependent on the owners agreeing to sell a 1 % share.

    Why do I think the comments cancel each other out? Let’s just say that if fans have been daft enough to have donated their hard earned cash to such an obviously tinpot scheme that clearly hasn’t been properly thought through, are they really the quality of individual that you want influencing the direction of our club?

    I get that the NUST scheme, more than anything, possibly provided just the tiniest glimmer of hope during that miserable era that the club was under the stewardship of Mike Ashley, and if fans want to pay a bit of a misery toll to make themselves feel better then that’s entirely up to them, but it was never going to achieve even the more modest, amended target.

    The problem with giving the money to charity is, who picks the charity? Will the donors be happy with that choice?
    I suggest that NUST take the names of everyone who has donated, put them into a hat and draw out a handful of names, and split the cash between those winners.


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