Off the back of the Newcastle United takeover, one must ask themselves that generation-spanning question; has the game gone?
Of course the game has not gone. Football will always be the sport that once captivated us as children and had us knee-sliding in our back gardens whilst our parents howled at us for ruining the good grass.
One of the chief architects behind the deal, British businesswoman Amanda Staveley, spoke shortly following the takeover.
She claimed that the ‘Toon Army’ can expect to see silverware in the form of the Premier League Trophy within the next five to ten years, sending fans into a frenzy on social media.
Despite Newcastle currently sitting in the relegation zone, Staveley refused to give comments on potentially sacking manager Steve Bruce but did indicate that investment would be felt at every level of Newcastle United.
Whilst the scenes outside of St. James’ Park Thursday evening compared in many ways to scenes out of a jubilant movie ending, many human rights organisations have been quick to question the ethical validity of their new owners, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
Amnesty International voiced concerns when news of the takeover broke, condemning the deal and stating that it is “an extremely bitter blow for human rights defenders and others suffering persecution in Saudi Arabia”.
Amnesty International UK chief executive Sacha Deshmukh went on to say that it is “a very worrying day for anyone who cares about the ownership of English football clubs and whether these great clubs are being used to ‘sportswash’ human rights abuse”.
Their statement begs the further question of how did the Saudi Arabian group pass through the Premier League’s Owners & Directors test less than a year after failing?
The original reason for failure was linked with BeIN Sports and TV rights piracy rather than any grand moral high ground held by the football pyramid.
For a sport, and in particular a league, that has made such grand strides towards equality over the last two years, this deal is in opposition with Amnesty’s established philosophy of morality.
The buy-out has been compared frequently by multiple football analysts to that of the Manchester City takeover by the Abu Dhabi Group in 2008.
Football fans the world over will be keeping a closer eye on the Magpies to see whether the Tyneside club can replicate City’s success.
Time will also ultimately how fans will react in-person when they return to St James Park after the international break to face Tottenham in the Premier League.