What does the purchase of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia mean for Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

Obviously Newcastle United are not the first club to have been bought either by a state, or by a person with access to the massive funds of a state.  Although it is probably the first club to be bought and then generate the lines in a national newspaper:

Infuriating tracksuit vendor v blood-stained dictatorship.

Zero-hours sport-shop contracts v beheading 37 people in a single day.

The man in charge of the money was also, it seems, “personally responsible for ordering the murder of a Saudi citizen who was dismembered,” (said The Guardian).

So what do we know about the country that now owns Newcastle United?

It is a land in which homosexuality is punished via public whipping and then chemical castration. So will Newcastle United be engaged with Rainbow Laces day?

Saudi Arabia is also a country where discrimination is written into law.  Does that matter?

Each club in deals like this is bought for specific reasons: Manchester City for example was purchased to allow Etihad Airways to develop its base in Manchester and to make “Visit Abu Dhabi” a credible campaign.  Chelsea was bought to ease the habilitation into English society of its owner (a policy that failed, we may note) and Liverpool like Arsenal were purchased to make money – not specifically from the football club but from the multiple activities that surround the club. 

I imagine Farhad Moshiri (who was of course a shareholder in Arsenal through Red and White Holdings) bought Everton for the same reasons.

So now the big six is going to become the big seven: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.  Just at the time when seven places are available as an entry point for Europe.  All the clubs have missed out on a few occasions in the attempts to claim a spot, but most of  the time the big six scrambled in one way or another.   Fortunate that the European Conference League is now in place.

But there is another point: there are only three domestic trophies, and three non-domestic trophies each year.  At least one, and more than likely several, clubs are going to be disappointed each year.  Although as long as they dominate the agenda they probably won’t mind too much, although I am not sure I would want to be a Newcastle player who would earn the displeasure of the owner.  I wonder how PSG and Real Madrid will respond.

Transfer Market gave an interesting breakdown of the estimated value of each club just before Newcastle were purchased, although I can’t find a detailed explanation of how the valuations are worked out.

That list is below.  And I wonder, is Leicester City, whose top level trophy list is smaller than the personal major trophy attainment of six of Arsenal’s managers actually worth just £14m less than Arsenal?

Pos Club Current value
Total value of all clubs: £8.17bn
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers £345.69m

*Valuation before the purchase by Saudi Arabia.

As we can see above, the valuation on Leicester City is just £14m below that of Arsenal.

As for Newcastle, “They may as well put Bin Salman’s picture on the club’s emblem. It is now more apparent than ever that English football will sell itself to anyone, no matter how abhorrent their crimes, if they offer up enough money.

“I don’t think people really understand the corrupting influence that this deal will have. It normalises a dictator who literally goes around butchering journalists,” said the piece in the Guardian.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust welcomed the news of the sale, describing it as “the first real hope for many years”.  However as of this morning it’s website still has the phrases, “We’re raising money to buy a share in NUFC” and “This club is our club”.   I guess their fans will be hoping that their players are a little niftier than the people running that website.

Thus Manchester City, Chelsea and Newcastle United are now owned by people who some in the UK would consider to be highly undesirable aliens.  I imagine it won’t be long before that number grows.

And as for that opening question – what does it mean for Arsenal?  Well, as I pointed out, there are now seven members in the big six – and one could add the pretenders of Leicester who are also knocking on the door.

Let’s hope that the rather clever ploys of Mr Arteta, that we have been noting since the end of last year, really do deliver what they promise.


20 Replies to “What does the purchase of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia mean for Arsenal”

  1. That valuation list is appalling, absolutely ridiculous and is insulting to NUFC as a whole, without taking into consideration PIF involvement. Why your site would even give any credence to Tansfer market is beyond me. To suggest NUFC would only be valued higher than 4 other Prem sides, goodness me. We were sold for £310m yet it could have been so much more had the man who ran it didnt use us as his companies convenience. Its a fickle game, Leicester won the league but goodness me, I wouldnt put them a third of the value of Arsenal. Same applies to the other over achieving Spurs and West Ham (and Villa, WTF?!), the former whom I strongly believe do not belong within a top 6. I mean, HOW did this game come to a big 6 conclusion??!? Big 5, maybe. You guys might struggle for recent form but form is temporary, you have still won the EPL, fA cUP ETC numerous times within the last several decades and can still attract relatively big names. Spurs are imposters to this list, a club who has over performed to gain sufficient respect that Levy consolidates (assisted by hugely pro Spurs bias London press) through his pragmatic and often desperate zealous ambition to make Spurs as big a name as possible as soon as possible. To call them big 6 is to accept potential as a true factor in stature, nothing else. Take Son and Kane away, you expose what they are, overrated and over achieving loud pretenders trying to sit at the top of the table. We have had a terrible last 14 years, its easy to forget we were in Europe almost every season, finsihing top 4 five times, top 6 seven times between 93 and 2007. But yes sure, Brighton have a higher value than us….Our fan base is something else. We have the entire north to ourselves, it is insulting and demeaning to underestimate that. Our potential will hopefully now, as it has every fecker else, be realised.

  2. Actually BLK I agree – but it was the only such list of values I could find. In business the general rule is, a company is worth how much you could sell it for, so whatever Ashley has just sold the club for, is their value, as of today.

  3. BLKW8

    I, like a lot of football fans I think, have a soft spot for Newcastle United. It was great fun when you had those exciting teams challenging for the title. I know it must be tough when you fall back because as you say we have done just that.

    But did I, do I feel sorry for you ? No.

    Why should I ? You fell back because you wasn’t good enough. You employed poor owners who hired poor managers who signed poor players.

    But you are not the only club to fail because of one, or indeed all of those reasons.

    Everton: Won nothing for years.

    Spurs: Won nothing for years.

    Chelsea: Won nothing for years.

    Man City: Won nothing for years.

    Aston Villa: Won nothing for years.

    If you take a look at all their periods of ‘failure’ you will find some telling similarities.

    They go through managers like they are going out of fashion.

    They buy players that are not good enough.

    Then they all blame the owners.

    So why should anyone feel sorry for Newcastle or any of them ?

    You was/are poorly ran clubs that haven’t been good enough. No more, no less. Why should I or anyone else have any sympathy, after all nobody has an ounce of sympathy for us, and yet we’ve ended up where we are for completely different reasons that were largely not our fault or were out of our hands, and we get crucified.

    We rose to the top on the back of employing a great manager and sticking with him. We weren’t bank rolled. We maintained our top 4 status despite the encumbrance of paying for a new stadium and hence operating on a zero net spend. A massive achievement, yet We were ridiculed.

    Whilst on a zero Net spend we had to not only compete with the richest Club in the World in Manchester United, we now had 2 more mega rich clubs to deal with, one of which, Chelsea, had been run so badly they had recently been sold for £1, and one of which, Man City, had been run so badly they had fallen to the 3rd tier of English football. City went through 20 managers in 20 years.

    Tough for the fans I know. But if your club is run like a run down market stall that’s what happens.

    It took a Russian oligarch looking for a toy and a Nation State looking for a marketing tool to bail them out. Not good management, bailouts.

    You have now gone down the same route following a similar amount of time being run terribly.

    And to reiterate, this has nothing to do with good management or ambition. This is about selling your soul to the highest bidder, and if that bidder happens to be the head of one of the worst regimes on the planet, with the most appalling human rights, so be it.

    Apparently winning trophies is far more important than peoples lives.

    So BLK, you just look the other way, dance in the streets, and enjoy the success that this appointment will surely buy you.

    Personally I think you should be at the very least shocked, but really you should be outraged. You clearly are not.

    When you lift that first trophy maybe your conscience will prick you, just a bit. I hope so, because you seem a decent guy.

  4. I assume the Transfer market valuations include the value of the ground. If so how do West Ham who do not own their ground have a value of £318 million. Their players value surely do not come anywhere near this do they?

  5. OT
    Congrats to Mikel Arteta who has been named Premier League manager of the month for September.

  6. Congratulations also to Nitram for 12.04 post.

    OT Being manager of the month often precedes a run of bad results. I hope not on this occasion. At least it may defer the next round of the “experts'” predictions of the sack for our manager.

  7. So Britain can sell weapons to Saudi Arabia but Saudis buying clubs in Britain is a no? Britons should be the last to lecture everyone on morality given their colonial history.

    Get off your high horse. It’s all saltiness.

    Every football fan wants to see their team compete and Newcastle fans are not an exception. This is not aristocracy where royalty is a preserve for select few.

    And it’s the height of pretentious to criticise City and Chelsea yet the whole of English football continue to benefit from the immense success that came with “Sheiks” and “Oligarchs”.

  8. Jack

    I am regularly told to hang my head in shame about an Empire that existed over 100 years ago, an Empire that I had absolutely no part part of, or say in, yet for me to criticize Manchester City, Chelsea and Newcastle United for embracing a barbaric regime such as runs Saudi Arabia this very day is pretentious is it ?

    I had nothing to do with historic slavery yet I am endlessly condemned and told to be ashamed of what our ancestors did, but for me to be disgusted by modern day en-slavers as well as those who take their money and validate their behavior is pretentious is it.

    So that’s how it works for you is it Jack ?

    Because Britain had an Empire it’s perfectly okay for the Saudi’s to act as they do ?

    Because Britain enslaved people in the past it’s okay for others to enslave people today is it ?

    Because our Government deals with these people that means we shouldn’t question anyone else who seeks to do so ?

    And all because, as you put it “Every football fan wants to see their team compete and Newcastle fans are not an exception.”

    We are talking about embracing a regime that enslaves, tortures, disfigures, beheads and all so a football team can be competitive.

    Really Jack ? Are you serious ?

  9. Jack, I fail to see how the whole of English football has benefitted from the success that came with Sheiks and Oligarchs.

    Can you explain it for me.

  10. John L

    All it benefits is the media and the team it is donated to.

    As I pointed out the other day, where Brian Moore on the old Big Match commentated on the match, did the post match interviews, introduced the show, and for the most part brought us the football ‘news’ we all know what we now have.

    We all know how many it takes to commentate on the game. Then to do interviews. Then sat in the studio. Then to analyse it next day.

    They are all riding on the gravy train, hence their reluctance to ever criticize any money that pours into the game, no matter what it’s source.

    Yes they’ll criticize Kronke. It’s Arsenal after all and doesn’t put a penny in the trough.

    With regards to football itself.

    The best player will still be the best player whether the market dictates he costs 1 Million or 1 Billion.

    The richest club will still be the richest club. Probably Manchester United.

    The rest may be different to what we currently have but not that different because when the big money comes it pretty much lands in the laps of the big clubs anyway.

    So all this nonsense trying to justify the doping of teams by suggesting it’s all about giving the small clubs a chance is utter rot.

    Chelsea and man City were always top clubs anyway, with big followings and massive financial potential on that status alone. It’s just they were badly run.

    Newcastle are a big club with most of the North East to draw on. They too have been badly run. When they were well run they did well.

    So all this money has done is gazump badly run clubs above well run clubs.

    Then by way of justification the accuse the Likes of Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal of being in some kind of Cartel.

    Well if we are it hasn’t been working that well for us has it.

    Being in the Cartel never stopped Man Utd getting relegated when they were badly run.

    It didn’t stop us going through droughts when we were badly run.

    Nope, all this money amounts to is bailouts for poorly run clubs. It benefits nobody but the team it dopes and the media who have their nose in the trough.

    If it wasn’t there it wouldn’t change the game at all. What it would mean is I’d have to listen to far fewer talking heads, talking crap, and insulting my club on an hourly basis.

  11. I think the question has to be when is ffp going to change to where each club can only spend 250m a.year on players so that things remain fair.

    The Epl is virtually for sale come.and buy Stockport and we will.let you win the champs league within 7 years and.praise all your doing on TV while you spend spend spend.

    I once thought I would never see arsenal.win the champions league again in my lifetime now it seems I won’t see us win the Premier league.

  12. Nitram, thank you for taking the time to articulate sentiments which I share.

    A related point is the false claim that all money eventually trickles down to the lower leagues and the grass roots of football.

  13. John L

    EPL Currently has the biggest TV deal and prize money of any league in the world. The last team in EPL still earns more than the best of any other league in the world. EPL just bailed EFL Clubs. EPL continually outspend every other league with a good fraction domestically. I doubt that deal came because the world was interested in watching Norwich take on Wolverhampton. That’s everyone benefitting from people’s interest in watching Man U vs Chelsea, or Arsenal Vs City.

    How about individual club revenues. City and Chelsea both have massive revenues for which they pay tax. They’ve developed stadiums. They support youth and women soccer. They have community projects. They’ve paid massive transfer fees to other teams in the League.

    The current success that makes English clubs immune to Covid shock was possible by the attractiveness, competitiveness and marketing that happened with the rise of Chelsea and City. The money came after Chelsea and City

    Could it all have been possible if Arsenal and Man U remained as the dominant forces of the League, I doubt. But Even if it were, it could not have happened as fast as it did.

  14. Nitram

    Britain is past it’s colonial history but then the world has sold it’s soul to the Devil called money.

    You can’t lecture us about ethical morality on Saudi Arabia but cohort with them when it’s financially convenient.

    If Saudis can’t buy clubs in England then BP shouldn’t be equally operating in Riyadh. And don’t tell us that Bin Salman doesn’t have properties in England. He has paid even more than he’s currently paying for Newcastle to obtain far less prominent relics.

    The issue here is not who is buying Newcastle, it’s more on the potential he brings and the establishment is scared. Me I say the more the merrier.

  15. Jack

    Why are you directing this at me?

    I’m not in cohorts with Saudi Arabia so I can lecture as much as I like. But I’m not lecturing I’m giving my opinion. If you feel lectured that’s up to you.

    I don’t own BP. Again what have what they do got to do with me ?

    I cant stop people buying property in the UK. Again whats that gt to do with me ?

    You end with:

    “Me I say the more the merrier.”

    Honestly, how do you look in the mirror?

  16. Nitram

    So fast to critique Bin Salman’s purchase of Newcastle on moral grounds but when faced with the reality that everyone is in bed, then you weren’t personally involved.

    Of course you weren’t involved, same way you weren’t involved in sale and purchase of Newcastle so why let it bother you.

    The body tasked with approving the sale saw it through and frankly other than here everyone else doesn’t seem to give 2 cents about it.

    For me if we can have more top teams then it’s potential for better football.

    How do I look in the mirror, like everyone else who hasn’t wronged anyone or sold anyone a club. Why should I look in the mirror and worry about matters beyond my control.

  17. The outrage accompanying the announcement of the “arrival” of ESL earlier this year was justified by its opponents on the grounds of “fairness”, amid statements to the effect that some clubs stood to benefit financially.

    From a purely financial point of view, this Newcastle deal is no different. Newcastle will benefit from a state-run investment fund (which should be ringing alarm bells), to the detriment of the rest of the Premier League. Wage inflation and transfer fees are already out of control. UEFA’s FFP policy and implementation of it have been proven to be ineffective, and the Premier League’s support for these inflationary measures guarantees that they will do nothing to rock their own cozy, floating piggy-bank.

    The Premier League’s compliance procedures have been repeatedly shown to be meaningless, and its stewardship of the game is solely focussed on only one thing – MONEY.

    … and then we have the human-rights issues.

    There are 408 days until the next World Cup. It is almost 4000 days since it was “awarded” to Qatar. Has anything changed?

  18. The Figures you have listed are NOT the clubs value but the combined value of the squads,as if Man Utd are worth less than 1 billion lol.You need to go on the sportico site which will show you that Arsenal are 5th above spurs while Newcastle actually sit 11th,with Leicester being 9th who are valued about a 7th of what Arsenal are.

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