H.E. Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan (Governor);
AND the Board of The Public Investment Fund;
PCP Capital Partners;
Your Royal Highness, Your Excellencies, Sirs and Madame,
There is an old saying that things happen for a reason and that was certainly how we felt when the news broke back in January that, as governors of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia you were interested in purchasing our football club, Newcastle United.
For years our club has languished in the doldrums; starved of success despite an appetite for football second to none. Now we could start to dream again. Owners that matched our desire for success were coming and those dreams might just turn into reality!
We hold the vision of a partnership between supporters and owners that will bring with it the first real hope and prospect in many years of rejuvenating one of the most storied clubs in England. With The Public Investment Fund's wealth and experience in business matched by the supporter’s passion and devotion to their club we might finally be in possession of the winning ticket.
PIF is the engine behind economic diversity in the KSA. It also develops high focus strategic sectors by growing and maximizing the impact of the fund’s investments, making it the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. Moreover, we know that the program establishes strong economic partnerships that help deepen the KSA’s impact and role both regionally and globally.
As supporters we were delighted to hear that the Club’s Football Academy and youth development would be put centre stage for investment. We believe that such an investment provides far more than football development. It gives young players the opportunity for an education and pastoral care that supports them not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.
These aspects are often overlooked in many areas of the game of professional football and are aptitudes that young people need to help them be successful in whatever career path they choose. The age of talent drain from the region with something like this in place would finally be over. Planned investment in community relations and the Foundation shows how PIF understood the importance of growing the Club alongside and in partnership with the local community.
The city and surrounding communities have a long and famous history. Indeed one of Newcastle United’s unique synergies is that of a club that sits at the very heart of the city, a fan base that turns up in numbers week in week out to support the team and a city, wider region and community that the club very much represents. It is often said that when Newcastle United win on Saturday, productivity rises in the region by 30% the next week. Whilst this may be anecdotal it is very hard to disagree.
Investment in the City and the region (by both PIF and from the multiplier effect) is badly needed and just as importantly would be a welcome interface.
The feeling of many in the North East is that we are overlooked with regard to investment in the UK therefore the mooted levels of investment that a PIF backed takeover of Newcastle United would generate would be viewed as a massive opportunity missed if the bid doesn't go ahead.
In many ways this is about renewed hope not just for the football club, but the city and the region as a whole.By declaring an interest in Newcastle United you have demonstrated to fans that PIF is a forward thinking and genuine long-term investor. What PIF and their partners had in mind for regional investment, coupled with a developing Saudi Arabia prepared to partner with and share economic and cultural growth alongside the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, would be spectacular for the region and mutually beneficial to us all in many diverse and exciting ways.
It is clear that PIF has thought its bid through very carefully and has assembled a leadership team that Newcastle fans can certainly believe in. Leadership has been sadly lacking at Newcastle United for many years. The Club is perceived like a ghost ship with a skeleton crew.
We are crying out for a leadership team that cares, will nurture the club and one which values the club in the same way that we, as fans, do. We remain convinced that the team assembled, including PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben brothers would do this and very much more with the backing and expertise of PIF.
As you will no doubt be aware, the Newcastle fans and the local community are deeply concerned about how the English Premier League conducted its Owners’ and Directors’ Test in regard to your bid and we have written to them demanding answers.
A petition calling for an investigation into the English Premier League has already exceeded 92,000 signatures at the time of writing this letter to you. Numerous Members of Parliament have also written to the League to seek answers for their prolonged and highly unsatisfactory process as a result of thousands of their constituents writing to them.
Yes; things happen for a reason and we hope that as a governor of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and potential investors in Newcastle United FC you can once again be energised by the opportunities of being part of something special.
We urge you, with every fibre we can muster, to consider bringing back your bid, and together we can make our hopes and dreams a reality for everyone who wishes to be part of this truly momentous opportunity.
A coalition of Newcastle United Supporters Groups