The Byline Times Podcast reveals how the Saudi regime bought off criticism of its human rights abuses
Thanks for such a considered reply Mervyn. As a football fan I totally understand these deep connections that outlive any particular owner of a football club and the questions of identity it raises.
I should say that every Newcastle based organisation mentioned on the podcast - inclduing NUFC, the Supporters Trust, and Wor Flags - was contacted but none has responded.
I support NUFC. My father (born in 1916 and now gone) supported them. He told me of watching Jackie Milburn play. Seeing him holding his boots and getting on the bus with the fans to St James’ on matchday.
I was / am against the Saudi purchase of the club though I still do support them now. I tried not to but I have two boys and I want them to experience what I feel…..the connection with my father. A connection I will take throughout my life. There’s other things of course, but NUFC also connects me to our home city and our lives there.
When the takeover happened I saw fans saying all sorts of things about the deal. A lot of ‘whataboutary’ of course, which I saw as being based on a lifetime of underachievement and poor management. Sadly Ashley made many desperate and almost any potential purchaser would have been made welcome. The fact that it turned out to be the Saudi sovereign fund gave many (including the FA) an opportunity to parse the moral question.
My comment on the article is this. I agree with its drift but for balance it should have mentioned the many supporters who have openly criticised the Saudi regime. The supporters associations who have done so. The fans commenting on match reports etc.
I cannot stop supporting the club….it is more than the ownership. I am deeply conscious however of the unpleasant role it now plays with regard whitewashing the Saudi regime. I am hopeful that it may over time be a force for good in the country but I am also concerned when, as night follows day, the regime does something that will cause people to hate the club and in turn, the city. And…more sadly, that it will taint my memories.