Unfortunately, our bridge is knackered, nearly a century old (construction started 96 years ago). Unpainted, rusty, unlit and neglected, we see our local councils and MP’s appealing to the government for help; for the £18m that would fix it, a sum of money so trivial that it’s less than the fine the Big 6 paid for their disgraceful betrayal of every football fan in the country.
We all know that St. James Park is neglected too, and the training ground, and the infrastructure that a successful sporting institution requires to flourish.
We know what being marginalised and ignored feels like.
London only wants Newcastle when they want something from us. Our men for the army, our coal and industrial production and now, when that’s all gone…we find they won’t even fix the Tyne Bridge. “Born in Blyth. Made in the Royal Navy. Ignored by London”. They take what little we have and tell us it’s for our own good.
That’s why this takeover is so vital. Because it will deliver inward investment to our City and Region and give us a bit of hope.
Now that coal, shipbuilding and Brown Ale are gone, the last thing that we have is Newcastle United. We all know the effect that a successful and engaged team has on the whole region. People cheer up, communities engage, more post-graduate students arrive, more university research grants are given, more jobs are created, people don’t have to leave home for work, our people thrive in a positive atmosphere where they feel valued.
For the first time in decades we have an opportunity to change our destiny, to challenge the decline we’ve suffered for so long, to show what a wonderful, welcoming, successful city we can be; where people are happy, safe and successful. Confident in a future where our young people might stay at home and the grandkids be round the corner instead of hundreds of miles away.
But they don’t want you to have that investment; they want it for themselves.
It’s ok for Man U. to get Saudi investment, Spurs to be bought, racing, boxing and F1….but not us? It’s ok for oligarchs and hedge funds and sovereign states and anonymous Delaware companies to own football clubs…they apparently pass the ODT (anonymously?), but a bid to buy Newcastle United with inward regional investment that would create many jobs here is being delayed by expensive lawyers and “no comment” is being made by an EPL that promised “openness” last year. A “Fan led review” is promised - but there’s no fans on it - and Tracey Crouch is saying, don’t contact me I only work here….they talk a lot, they do nothing.
We can’t trust these people. We need a public hearing. If the facts support them, fair enough, but their record shows that they can’t be trusted.
That is why we need openness, transparency and confidence in decisions. Without that, in politics or sport, there’s no point in playing the game any longer….