I’ve been a Newcastle United fan for over twenty years. My first game was a 4-0 UEFA Cup win over Olympiacos, and since then I’ve seen us reach European quarter finals, get related then promoted twice and beat Sunderland 5-1. Being born just a few Metro stops from the ground, supporting Newcastle wasn’t born out of glory hunting, but at the same time, I was raised on the football of Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Shay Given and Nobby Solano.

Since Mike Ashley took over though, while there has been bright spots – the 5-1, for example – it’s been 13 years of seeing Newcastle’s potential slowly crushed out of them. Lack of investment, broken promises and dreadful transfer policies have seen anyone with even the slightest shred of talent or ambition pack up sticks. Now, finally, it seems like Ashley is disappearing for good.

The only issue is the person taking his place is Mohammed bin Salman; Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, ruler of a homophobic, misogynistic, fundamentalist empire and murderer of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He’s rich enough to make us the wealthiest club in the world, but he’s also a bit of a bastard.

Whether it’s Man UTD fans saying their nan’s death is worth it if Liverpool don’t win the league or Newcastle fans mocking Khashoggi’s widow, it seems impossible to have a nuanced conversation around football these days, so I decided to work my thoughts out in the only way I knew how: by projecting onto my Animal Crossing villagers.

The NUFC Fans

Savannah

Savannah is a die hard fan; she even has the crest tattooed on her. She’s travelled to every away game for the past decade. She was there when we won the league at Plymouth. But this deal gives her pause, as Newcastle means the world to her. While Ashley was a terrible owner, he wasn’t a terrible person the way the Crown Prince is.

She’s heard the hot takes that the Saudis own bits of The Independent, Disney and Twitter, but she still thinks owning a tiny slice of stock is very different to owning something outright and making her club the symbol of their empire. She’ll still be at every match, but the club won’t quite feel the same any more.

Lopez

Lopez is an absolute plastic. He’s at least wearing the shirt at home as well as strutting about in it, but it’s the exact same energy as when Kendall Jenner wore her PSG top. He reckons Newcastle’s upcoming success will make the classic kit a fashion item, and any controversy over the ownership just makes it more juicy. Definitely never heard of the man, the myth, the legend that is Shola Ameobi.

Puck

Puck is a right daftie but he’s still a proper fan. He’s basically the lads from Purely Belter. He doesn’t follow politics, and he believes all the memes that we’ll have M’Bappe, Neymar and Bale upfront next season. He’d still be going to the games if we were in League Two though, so there’s no doubting his loyalty.

Hugh

Hugh is Puck’s mate, and equally as daft. He’s not really into the football… he knows who Shearer is but that’s about it. Puck’s told him Neymar is signing for the toon though, so that’s exciting.

Annalisa

Annalisa follows football, watches every match she can and could name most of the current XI, but she doesn’t live and breathe the game. She thinks it’s better the devil you know; Ashley’s not very good but at least he’s not a murderer, right? Ultimately, she thinks it’s typical Newcastle our knight in shining armour is a Saudi Prince dripping blood.

Vladimir

Why can’t we just keep politics out of football?

That’s what Vladimir wants to know. He’s been following Newcastle for donkey’s, and nobody ever listened to the fans when we wanted Ashley out, so why are the fans expected to take a stand now? Everyone who’s complaining will change their tune when we’re top of the league. And why isn’t there this much fuss about Sheffield United’s owners? Double standards.

The Rival Fans

Pompom

Pompom is just Lopez with a bit more loyalty. She started supporting Man City when they got their riches, and she wants to pull the ladder up from Newcastle. No concerns over the ethics, just doesn’t want anybody else in the Premier League rich list.

Moose

Moose is one of those Arsenal fans with Aubameyang as his avatar because “he’s the second best striker in PL history, after Henry”. All his patter is about other clubs. Constantly comments “null and void” under any Sky Sports post, still says “Fraudiola” and doesn’t think any Chelsea players would get in Arsenal’s XI.

When it comes to Newcastle, his banter consists mainly of explaining why the Saudis should buy Arsenal instead, while simultaneously crying that the deal is unethical and the Premier League should stop it.

Flo

Flo isn’t really a football fan, but she knows an awful lot about politics and she thinks Newcastle have no idea what they’re in for. Much like WrestleMania, NUFC is about to become another tool in Saudis Arabia’s ever growing PR portfolio. They’ve got endless money, and they might buy success for the team, but they’ll steal the club’s soul in the process.

No one wants to listen to her because she knows nowt about football, but she’s probably got a point.

Katt

Katt’s a Mackem, and her face here tells you all you need to know about her reaction to the deal. While Annalisa thinks it’s typical Newcastle that it’s not as perfect as it seems, Katt reckons it’s typical that we’re getting saved at all, while her club sinks further into obscurity.

They’ll always have Paolo Di Canio’s knee slide, but that’s literally it.

Freya

Freya is a Chelsea fan, and one who’s actually from Chelsea, which can sometimes be worse.

She understands that there are no ethical billionaires, and doesn’t expect the Newcastle fans to decry the takeover, but she also just doesn’t see the appeal. At least when Abramovich bought Chelsea, they were right on the edge of success. Newcastle are a little club from the North East, who flop around mid table, with no trophies for over fifty years and fans who punch horses. She won’t believe it until she sees Mohammed bin Salman himself outside St. James’ Park holding up a Newcastle shirt.

Canberra

Canberra is an Everton fan who for some reason thinks Newcastle fans care what she has to say.

We don’t.

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