We will take a guess that last week you had never heard of Yasir Al-Rumayyan, but you will have now and will be doing so for many years to come. Al Rumayyan is the new chairman of Newcastle United and has assets worth over £300 billion, in other words welcome to a new rich club.
Mike Ashley has finally been able to sell up to the Saudi Arabian who will own 80% of the club. Ashley loved Newcastle but had become a controversial figure and sometimes toxic with the fans, who wanted something from him that in reality he could never deliver. But this new ownership could be the perfect gift for the Magpies fans who have suffered many years of obscurity in league football. The take over is on a par with what we have seen at Chelsea and Manchester City. Both clubs have dominated domestically since and Chelsea have appeared in 3 Champions League finals winning twice and Manchester City were in the final last season. Money and a good set-up at the club wins trophies, that cannot be denied. Newcastle's last major piece of silverware came back in 1955 when they won the FA Cup, they have won the league title 4 times with their last coming back in 1927. Surely with the money being invested their history is about to change? Fans have been celebrating in the streets and there have been theories of the type of players the club are going to bring in. One could presume that come January the club will want to make a statement buy, let's see.
As a result of the takeover though other Premier League clubs have voiced their opposition based on Saudi Arabia's human rights. While this is validated sadly the Premier League and their owners are too late in the game to worry about this issue. With owners far spread out from Russia to the Middle East and America, all have their governing rules that differ greatly from the United Kingdom's and can seem incredibly draconian and controversial. At the same time this is not a political blog but maybe the real issue with the other 19 clubs and the so called big six is the worry of another emerging world class team which would mean less chances of silverware for those clubs. Manager Steve Bruce and his team look like they will be losing their jobs soon. Sometimes in this situation it's nothing personal and more about the new owners rubber stamping their ownership on the place. However reports suggest that Bruce's sacking could cost the club up to £7m. There are going to be many stories over the coming weeks and months on the club and we will keep an update of events at St James' Park.
In the meantime domestic football has taken a break for the internationals and congratulations should be in order for France who beat Spain 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League final. Though the competition doesn't carry the same weight as this summers European Championships, France would have been delighted by the win which would have made up some for their indifferent showing this past summer. Italy the European champions were beaten by Spain in the semi-finals and that ended their unbeaten record of 37 games without defeat.
World Cup qualifying has also taken place and after easily brushing aside Andorra 5-0 England were surprisingly held 1-1 at Wembley against Hungary. It means that World Cup qualification will be delayed at least for a month, when England will need to get a victory at home against Albania. But the nation are looking good for qualification and haven't lost so far after 8 games.
Finally Lionel Messi's transfer to PSG has been all the rage in European football since August but one of the greatest players to ever play the game has hardly played for the Paris outfit. Since Messi arrived from Barcelona PSG has played 11 games and Messi has featured in just 5. There has been fitness issues and a knee injury but the other reason is missing clubs games because of internationals. Messi's contract stipulates that playing for Argentina comes first. He has already missed one game in the league because of this and this Friday will do the same. PSG are due to play Angers on October 15th but the very same day Argentina are playing a World Cup qualifier. In mid November it's the same situation and the same next February and March. Messi isn't really to blame but the FIFA scheduling certainly is. Players are having a start/stop season as a result and are not getting much time to spend with their clubs this season. Something has to change and it has been surprising to see some managers not come out and say anything.
Latest odds to win the 2022 World Cup: Brazil 7.00, France 7.00, England 9.00, Spain 10.00, Italy 11.00