Newcastle United, just like Basil Fawlty do not want you to mention war. That would include the brutal war in Yemen being waged by Saudi Arabian owners.  They also don’t want to mention Saudi Arabian war on freedom of speech. Saudi Arabia’s war against women and men whose sexuality offends state. 

In fact, you can choose to ignore the wars they don’t want to talk about. There are many options. 

Newcastle doesn’t want you to mention the beheadings committed by their owners. They also don’t want you to mention civil rights violations. The murders of journalists Jamal Khashoggi and Mohammed Bin Salman (the new Newcastle owner) are not to be mentioned. They do not want you to mention the censorship. They also don’t want you to mention the persecution.

Mohammed bin Salman, chair Saudi Public Investment Fund has come under severe criticism for his country’s attitudes towards gay people and war with Yemen.

Crystal Palace fans made a banner listing injustices by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment funds. It was criticized by Newcastle’s owners and led to a complaint.

Crystal Palace fans made the comment before their match with Newcastle on Saturday. Someone, probably an angry Newcastle supporter, complained about it. It was a good time for everyone. You can complain about a banner that highlights injustice, but you should tie your knots to excuse those who own your club.

Some Palace fans in Holmesdale Road Stand displayed a banner depicting a man in a garb marked with the letters PIF to denote Saudi Public Investment Fund. He is about to swing the sword and behead a magpie. Richard Masters, chief executive of Premier League, was present at execution as he stood in a pool.

The banner hit the mark. It was brilliant satire, and the Holmesdale Fanatics should be commended for it. Even though many media outlets and others have enthusiastically supported the Saudi Arabian ownership of Newcastle, the banner demonstrated once again that many English football fans are not terribly good at complying.

Nobody knows why the complainant believed that their accusation had the best chance of success. The banner was a factual listing. 

Newcastle’s owners murder people, suppress people and oppress people. They also censor people and persecute them. This is undisputed. Unfortunately, for those who are irritated by the depiction of their owners in this way, we haven’t yet banned free speech within this country. The police were quick to dismiss the complaint.

The banner communicated a message that neither Newcastle, the Premier League, nor many of our broadcasters wanted to project. They want us all to forget who is the owner of the club and just focus on what Newcastle might sign. Sky is the leader in this. Their journalists in North-East have lost their minds in their flattery to the Saudis, and their openness to a regime which murders journalists.

Sky’s commentator Martin Tyler said that Newcastle had won ‘ownership lottery. That was a moment that took our breath away.  

If you really believe that celebrating the arrival of a killer at one of our most beloved clubs is winning the lottery then I don’t know where we go from here. Joey Barton would probably say it: “It’s the modern world we live within.”

A large number of Newcastle fans are already realizing that the wealth of their new owners has come at a significant cost. 

Wealth attracts a new type of supporter. This is the one that follows the money because money brings glory and power. They like to boast about their owner’s wealth and Saudi Arabia’s policies as if it were their own.

A 'Justice for Jamal Khashoggi' banner was seen outside Newcastle's St James' Park stadium for their first game under new Saudi ownership against Tottenham Hotspur recently

A banner titled “Justice for Jamal Khashoggi” was seen outside Newcastle’s St. James’ Park stadium during their first match under new Saudi ownership against Tottenham Hotspur.

A journalist from The Athletic wrote a wonderful report on the situation of the LGBTQ minority in Saudi Arabia. He also spoke to many people who suffered under the regime. But last week, he was the target of a new type of Newcastle troll. One tweet, purportedly by a Newcastle fan, featured an animated sequence that showed a man machining a group gay men.

Imagine how surprised Newcastle was when he responded enthusiastically to the statement of Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo last Wednesday, revealing that Cavallo was gay. Many prominent current and former players of football around the world expressed their admiration and support for Cavallo, and Newcastle joined them. 

The club’s Twitter account stated, “A powerful and inspiring message,” ‘Football for all. Newcastle United is right there with you, Josh.

You are right? Really? Because club owners reserve the rights to kill gay men, women and children for practicing their sexuality. You are right because the club owners run a country in which consensual samesex sexual conduct can be punished by death or flogging depending on its severity.

Right there with you, Suhail al Jameel, a young gay man, was arrested in Saudi Arabia for simply posting a photo of himself without a shirt to social media in 2019. He is believed still to be languishing behind bars.

Newcastle United tweeted their support for footballer Josh Cavallo, after he came out as gay

Newcastle United has tweeted their support for Josh Cavallo after he came out.

So, the ‘right beside you’ sentiment can be nice and may help. It feels false, however. It is cynical. It is manipulative. It is in the same area as the Premier League, which promotes their Rainbow Laces campaigns and then rolls out the red carpet to support a regime that criminalizes homosexuality. It’s a show. It is done to gain an advantage. It is empty. It is worse than empty.

Forgive my cynicism, but when your owner reserves right to kill men or women because they are gay, it can be difficult to reconcile that with the club praises a man who says he is gay. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t matter at what level.

Except when it’s used for sportswashing. Except if it’s done in order to make Saudi Arabia more attractive and distract from unpalatable policies in the rest of the world.

You can call it sportswashing. It’s also known as pinkwashing. You can call it whatever you like. Know what it is. It is a shameless, flagrant, unscrupulous, shameless attempt by English football fans to hide the injustices of an oppressive country with blood money and tribal loyalty. 

If this analysis offends or you are offended by the banner at Selhurst Park, it is because your brain can’t handle the truth.

Manchester United took to social media to come out in support of Paul Pogba last week

Manchester United took to social networking to show support for Paul Pogba last Wednesday


Manchester United’s official Twitter account was not a Cristiano Ronaldo fan website last week. Instead, it fell in line with Paul Pogba who accused a newspaper and fake news of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s relationship. 

“Strength in Unity,” the United account grovelled. This sentiment was greeted with laughter by those who were familiar with Pogba’s frequent and poorly-detected flirtations with rival clubs during his low-achieving time at Old Trafford. 

Manchester United, a club where the tail is waggin’ the dog