by Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw, senior psychologist at the University College Hospital of the North Circular Road.
Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United for £134m. He bought it in stages, making use of UK law that says that once a single person or company owns over 30% of a listed UK firm, he or it has to put in an offer to buy the rest. This Ashley did, buying up the shares step by step.
He has now sold it for £300m to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, at a time when the club has achieved nothing under Ashley and is like all other clubs in lockdown. Not bad business if you can do it. £166m profit for doing a bit of buying and selling. He wasn’t even obliged to watch that many games.
There has been a fair amount of welcoming of the new ownership by Newcastle fans, and many have picked up on Faustino Asprilla tweeting, “Mike Ashley saw fans of Newcastle like bar codes, hopefully that will end soon this team is for lovers not for just merchandisers.”
I am not really sure that is the issue.
The point is that the Saudis are not newcomers. Manchester United are linked to the Saudi General Sports Authority, and have a deal with the Saudi telecoms agency. Blackstone which owns part of West Ham are partially funded by Saudi Arabia who also part-fund Uber who are linked with Chelsea. And that’s before we get into the way Emirates Airlines has inveigled itself into Arsenal.
Of course, we could stop the take over of our sports by regimes that don’t care about human rights in any shape or form. Of course, the ownership of Arsenal is better in that it doesn’t run an organisation that promotes the public flogging of LGBT individuals owning the majority of shares. But the way things are going, our club could be sold on to these monsters, and there wouldn’t be a thing we could do about it.
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