Tag Archives: Newcastle United

Should football fans care where their owners money comes from?

Yesterday the takeover of Newcastle United finally went through.

Following a court case, a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium bought the club for £350m from Mike Ashley.

The Newcastle fans celebrated like they had one the lottery.

Part of the celebrations was due to the departure of Mike Ashley – an owner they have hated from almost the day he took over.

The other part of the celebrations is that they see the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) takeover as a a quick route to winning the league.

Their fans have seen Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG bank rolled to success. And the wealth of the PIF blows all of their owners oit of the water.

They think being owned by PIF will see billions spent on new players and the side bankrolled to their first league title since 1927.

But at what cost would this success be bankrolled to and should fans care?

Amnesty International have urged the Premier League to review their decision and take into account the horrendous human rights issues in Saudi Arabia. They state:

“As with Formula One, elite boxing, golf or tennis, an association with top-tier football is a very attractive means of rebranding a country or person with a tarnished reputation. The Premier League needs to better understand the dynamic of sportswashing and tighten its ownership rules.”

We have mentioned sportswashing numerous times in this blog.

From day one when Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea I questioned whether someone who built his wealth in questionable circumstances should be applauded.

When Alisher Uzmanov looked to take over Arsenal, I took the stand that I did not want his kind involved in Arsenal.

I would rather win nothing than be bankrolled to success by someone with Usmanov’s questionable history.

At Manchester City, the ‘Manchester thanks you Sheikh Mansour’ banner has always left a sour taste in my mouth.

Sheikh Mansour is a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi and deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The 2021 Human Rights Watch reportfor the UAE makes grim reading.

Manchester City fans turn a blind eye to what is happening in the UAE. The lack of democracy, modern slavery. These things seem to not matter when you are winning trophies.

And the same is seemingly happening at Newcastle.

Their fans seem to not care about the human rights abuses that occur on a daily basis. They just want to be bankrolled to success.

How many of their fans joined a BLM March over the last 2 years. Have pointed out corruption in the Conservative party. Have spoken up against racism and inequality in the UK.

How many of their fans have tweeted that slave owners statues in the UK should be taken down – meanwhile they celebrate slave owners buying their club.

PIF probably will bankroll Newcastle to their first trophy since 1969. It will be written as another glorious story of a sleeping giant returning to its glory days. A bit like Manchester City.

Personally, I would rather win nothing than be owned by a state with a horrendous human rights record that is basically using my club to wash over that record.

I would rather win nothing than be owned by a former KGB agent that earned his billions during the break up of the Soviet Union.

Hopefully I am not alone in this. I have my morals and they will not change regardless of my football clubs success.

But many people do not seem to care who owns their club as long as they are being bankrolled to success.

So I ask the question; should football fans care where the money comes from?



Sky TV – Ruining every Gooners April

So yesterday lunch time, Sky TV and BT Sport announced what supporters they will be fucking over with their latest schedule of TV games for April – and the result was a big fuck you to Arsenal fans. The travelling support have been well and truly shafted.

March was bad enough, with only one 3pm kick off in the month – away to Stoke tomorrow. After that, Everton (Sat 12.45), Spurs (Sun 16.00 – what happened to ‘Health and Safety?), Chelsea (Sat 12.45) and Manchester City (Saturday 17.30). Luckily for Arsenal fans, the fucking about with the fixtures in March has little effect as the two main away games moved are against London clubs. All it means is plenty of drinking after Chelsea Away, and Plenty of drinking before Spurs Away (and plenty of sore heads at work Monday morning).

April, however, is a complete and utter fuck up for The Arsenal.

We start off with an away trip to Goodison Park. Sunday 13.30. That gives Arsenal fans 2 realistic choices. An 8.15 or 9.15 train out of Euston. Thanks Sky TV you utter cunts for the early start.

Next on the agenda is West Ham at home. A noon kick off on a Sunday. Not too bad, on the face of it. Two London clubs. Not far to travel. OK, so it means no beers before the game. But it means you can have a session after and still be home to grab some dinner before the Chinese closes. Until you notice that Sunday 13th April is the day of the London Marathon.

So not only have Sky TV said a big ‘Fuck You’ to one of the countries most important sporting days by scheduling a TV game at the same time the majority of fun runners will be on the streets of London (taking away important viewers from the charities) but they have also created a logistical nightmare for the police, who will now be stretched as they have to manage the millions who take to the streets to support the runners, as well as police a London Derby.

It was not too long ago that the police had the final say in fixtures. Based on safety grounds, games would get moved to an early kick off (I remember we once played Spurs at 11.45am) and made to ensure they would not clash with other big events in the capital. It seems nowadays, however, that it is the TV stations who are the king makers.

Have the police not questioned the scheduling of both the West Ham and Spurs match’s? Has some money been paid elsewhere by the TV companies to get their way? Or do the police just not really give a fuck and the previous excuse for awkward kick off times was just that, an excuse.

I feel for the London Marathon, I really do. Attention will be taken away from the once a year charity event for a football game. That is not right. I guess it is probably Sky TV throwing their toys out the pram knowing the London Marathon get’s a lot of viewers, and it is shown on BBC.

To make matters worse, The FA have also schedule the FA Cup Semi Final’s for the same weekend. So if Arsenal fail to beat Everton, you could end up with a scenario where Arsenal play West Ham, the London Marathon, and an FA Cup Semi Final are all on the same day. Add in the other FA Cup Semi Final the day before, plus Crystal Palace and Fulham playing at home, the police are going to have a field day with overtime and cancelled leave. Good job schedulers.

Next up is Hull City away. And just as you thought we had been fucked as much as the Everton game, Hull is scheduled for 17.30 on a Saturday. Ok, so we get a lay in. But wait for it, the last train leaves Hull City that gets you back into London the same day at 18.30. The game kicks off at 17.30ArsenalvHull

So fuck you Sky TV. Who will be picking up my hotel bill? It certainly won’t be you will it? Even the 6 hour, 3 changes and a bus journey is impossible. And £96.80 for that? Fuck off. Of course, I know I could take the ‘No booze, no fun’ club coaches, but fuck that.

Lastly we have Newcastle at home. This is where I feel for the away fans. It has been moved to a Monday 8pm kick off. So all the Geordies now have to take a day off work and like us with Hull, have no way of getting home (last train leaves King Cross at 20.00). Well done Sky TV again. You show you do not care about the true football fans. You show TV viewing figures are more important. To make this even better the club sold junior gunners tickets the day before this was announced, leaving a lot of fans with kids too young for games on school nights out of pocket.

And well done to the Premier League. Their recent campaign is #YouAreFootball. If we are football, then put your foot down. Protect the fans. Or do the Premier League only care about the bank balance?

So whilst all those who sit in front of the TV with their popcorn and Diet Coke will not give a fuck, those who travel up and down the country, the loyal supporters of Arsenal Football Club, are shafted.

Sky TV – You are a disgrace


Why did more clubs not take up Newcastle’s ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ offer?

On Tuesday, we began discussion on the pricing scandal at Manchester City. One of the aspects of the article was the Twenty’s Plenty campaign spearheaded by The Football Supporters Federation. On the back of this, Newcastle United offered all clubs in the Premier League a reciprocal pricing agreement where they would charge away fans £20 if their opponents reciprocated the offer.

Of all the other 19 Premier League clubs, only Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion took them up on the offer. A couple of other clubs have done some side agreements, such as Crystal Palace offering to knock £5 off of the Newcastle travelling fans ticket if this was reciprocated, but by and large, the offer by Newcastle was ignored. The question going through my head when reading this was a simple one.


Everyone says that the reason why a single club is unable to lower ticket prices as they then generate less revenue, and as a consequence, put themselves at a disadvantage to other Premier League clubs. If that rationale is true, why then, would barely any club take up an offer which, if every club took it up, would create a disadvantage not to themselves, but to an opponent. In this case Newcastle United.

Had every club have taken up Newcastle United’s offer, they would all be down a similar amount in revenue, that being the difference between the usual ticket price and the £20. Meanwhile Newcastle would be down 19 times that. So if clubs are refusing to budge on ticket prices due to putting themselves at a disadvantage, why would they not take up this offer? Greed.

Greed can be the only answer. Whilst clubs all pay lip services to giving fans a better service and more competitive prices (‘we would if we could’ is the often justification), when it comes down to it, they refuse to budge.

£20 for an away ticket to go to Newcastle would have been more than reasonable. In fact, I would say it is cheap. With an £80 train to Newcastle still required you are still looking at an Arsenal away fan spending £100 to get from London Kings Cross to Newcastle. Incidental, despite Manchester City charging us £58, my cheap rail (£31) means that the Manchester City trip is actually cheaper. Anyway, I digress. £20 would have been a good deal for fans. But then the brain cogs start turning.

Why can Arsenal, for example, reciprocate the Twenty’s Plenty agreement with Newcastle, but then not offer the same to Sunderland, Southampton or Swansea. Why can they not get an agreement that Twenty’s Plenty with Cardiff and Crystal Palace? The fact is, they would have no justification to not come up with similar agreements throughout the Premier League.

One reciprocal agreement would have raised the questions of more. More would have created more. And before you know it, all Premier League clubs have decided that Twenty’s Plenty for all away fans. One deal would have unravelled the cartel, the price fixing, amongst Premier League sides.

You see, they all agree to keep prices high, everyone has to pay that high price. One club makes the Twenty’s Plenty offer, the cartel then has a decision. Either all adopt it, or all boycott it. They decided the latter. Premier League clubs act as a cartel. All agreeing to keep prices high to ensure profits are maximised.  They are no different to energy companies or supermarkets. All of whom fix prices to ensure it is the customer that loses out. They do it for greed.

Greed is the only justifiable reasoning for all clubs not jumping all over Newcastle’s Twenty’s Plenty offer. The joke is, how little the greed actually makes Premier League sides.

Arsenal has the second largest away capacity in the Premier League, after Manchester United. The maximum amount of tickets an away side can claim in the Premier League is 3,000 (although the area can be expanded to 4,500 behind the goal for cup games). Now Arsenal announced earlier this season that:

“There will be five ‘A’ Category, eight ‘B’ Category and six ‘C’ category matches in the Premier League across the season.”

Now a little bit of mathematics shows that the 5 Cat A games will generate £310 per seat. the Cat B ones £284 per seat, and the Cat C games £153. A total of £747 for all 19 Premier League games. Now divide this by the 19 games gives you an average of £39 per seat.

Now if you are still with me (and not bored or in the process of taking off your socks to check my maths), the difference between £39 and £20 is £19 (I did that one without my calculator), that works out as £361 per seat over the 19 league games. Now for the magic.

£361 multiplied by the 3,000 seats is £1,083,000. That is how much Arsenal would lose if they offered every Premier League side an away ticket for £20.


That is the cost of a Premier Leagues greed. Taking into account that, as we mentioned, Arsenal have the 2nd largest ground, and amongst the highest ticket prices, it is unlikely that anyone will have a bigger loss then Arsenal. £1,083,000 is the price of a football clubs greed.

Now it might seem a large number to some of you. However, when you take into account that in 2013, the turnover of Arsenal Football Club was £242,800,000, a little over £1m is no longer that big a number. It would be 0.4% of our turnover. The greed of Arsenal, and other clubs, is so minuscule it is unexplainable. £1,083,000 for a football club is nothing, especially when the new TV deal, in this season, will see the BOTTOM clubs income rise by around £22 million. The greed is unexplainable. But then again, the greedy always want more.

What the clubs are clearly worried about is the Pandora’s Box that Twenty’s Plenty could open. If they can offer away fans tickets for £20, why can they not offer home fans? And they the ball of string will begin to unravel. By boycotting Newcastle’s offer, they ensure that away fans do not get a better deal, and as a consequence, ensure that home fans continue to pay a premium.

If that box were to open, how much would it cost Arsenal? Well their match day revenue is around £100m (give or take), were they to offer tickets for £20 to all 60,000 supporters over a 28 game seasons (taking into account average amount of cup games) Arsenal would see a revenue drop from £100m to £33.6m. Around a £60,000,000 drop (although this does not factor in the coporate seats). Now that is the greed!

All I know is that Arsenal Football Club would not miss £1,083,000 if they agreed with every club in the Premier League tickets for £20, however, as a regular away fan an extra £361 (approximately) in my pocket over a season would make a BIG difference.