Chris Greenslade was wearing a mock Arab headdress while enjoying a Newcastle Brown Ale. He proudly celebrated his club’s new status of one of the most wealthy in world sports.
The 41-year-old Newcastle fan declared, “We are Saudis.” “We can afford everything.”
Fans celebrated and gloated only prior to Sunday’s match against Tottenham at Saint James’ Park. This was before the reality set in.
Callum Wilson gave Newcastle the lead after just 107 seconds. The hosts lost 3-2 to remain in the relegation zone. As the crowd demanded, there will be a lot of spending on players and a new manager.
Newcastle supporters must accept that their club, long underachieving, is now owned by the state. To accept the wealth of the Saudi sovereign wealth funds to replace a long-despised owner is to make an unwelcome association with the murkier side a kingdom.
Greenslade said, “You’re going get stuff like that along there.” He pointed out a vehicle with the name “Jamal Khashoggi”, and an image of the journalist who was murdered at the Saudi consulate Istanbul in 2018. A photo of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, was also included in the grisly plot.
Greenslade asked, “Is it evidence?” “Is it nailed to?”
U.S. intelligence agencies stated that they believe the murder of the U.S.-based Saudi journalist was ordered by the crown prince, who now controls 80% of Newcastle’s Public Investment Fund. The Saudi assassination team is believed to have used planes belonging to a PIF company. Prince Mohammed has denied wrongdoing.
Adel Al-Shammari was bemused as the van circled around St. James Park once more. He is a Saudi student at Newcastle’s university.
He said, “It’s fake information.” “Believe it.”
Al-Shammari was apprehensive when Khashoggi’s fate, his body, and the findings from investigators were raised.
“I know the story. He said, “It’s not as you think.” It’s a completely different story. It’s difficult to explain.”
This new corner of northeast England is the latest example of the Saudi state’s efforts to improve its image through investments in sports.
Al-Shammari stated, “Just go to Saudi Arabia and ask the people there.” “You’ll find the truth.”
It is currently regular Saudis living in England talking, but not Yasir Al Rumayyan, the non-executive chairman. He uses the title His Excellency, and serves as governor of the PIF board, which is dominated by Saudi ministers.
Abdulrahman Alshmasi travelled to Newcastle from Birmingham, a central English city. He is currently studying to observe the club that he supported when the protracted buyout was completed just two weeks ago.
He said, “It’s now the richest club worldwide.” “Hopefully they’ll be one of the top European teams.”