A new era begins for Newcastle on Sunday when a crowded St. James Park will watch the first match of the Magpies since the club took control of the club led by the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Amanda Stevely, one of Newcastle’s new directors, says the consortium’s ambitions are to make the struggling club a Premier League champion within the next decade.
But there is a big difference between Newcastle’s visit to Tottenham’s Tottenham this weekend and where the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) wants to take them.
Newcastle are second in the table without winning their first seven games this season.
Steve Bruce will take charge of the 1,000th match of his managerial career against Tottenham when he was sacked amid speculation he could be sacked on Friday.
However, a statement issued by Stowell suggested that it was a matter of when Bruce would be fired.
“Change doesn’t always happen overnight – it takes time and we have to think carefully about plans and strategies,” he said.
“Steve has been very professional in our dealings with him and he and his coaching team will take the team on Sunday. Steve will be the first to know if we make any changes going forward.”
Most Newcastle fans will not shed tears when Bruce’s charge expires.
A recent poll by the Newcastle United Sports Trust found that 94% of fans want to resign.
Bruce’s continued presence is unlikely to create a pleasant atmosphere in the audience.
Thousands landed at St James’s Park just a week before the takeover was finalized, marking the end of Mike Ashley’s sad 14-year tenure as boss, as well as one of Europe’s most powerful clubs. Also celebrated the possibility of becoming one.
“The most important thing for the fans is to see their team win the game and I know they will be behind the players in an environment that I doubt we’ve had in St. James’s Park for a long time. Must have seen Said on Friday.
Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City and Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain have shown how large investments from the Middle East can drive unrelated clubs in Europe’s elite.
“In the long run, if we only talk about football, we have to say that they are going to be a superpower,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool are one of several clubs in the Premier League that have reportedly been angered by the decision to give the go-ahead a green light.
This can only be due to their own interests, as the competition for the Premier League title is already fierce and the places in the Champions League are getting tougher.
But others have also expressed concern, with Amnesty International calling the deal “a severe blow to human rights defenders.”
Sacha Deshmukh, CEO of Amnesty International UK, said the way the Premier League had pushed the deal raised serious concerns about sportswear, human rights and sports, and the integrity of English football.
Amnesty has also expressed concern about the club’s proprietary structure.
It was seized after receiving legal assurances from the Premier League that Saudi Arabia’s PIF was not operating on behalf of the kingdom.
This is despite the fact that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is the Chairman of the PIF Board.
Sunday is the first step Newcastle hopes to have a bright future on the pitch.
Far from it, the questions are likely to be tangled.