It's time for the Premier League to act - and end Newcastle United's 13 years of 'lies, half truths and vindictive decisions'

"When the public discovers the deceit of one of its own, it’s not that man only who loses his position, but the people lose faith in all like him."

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 19: Richard Masters of Premier League speech during the cocktail reception to celebrate the Premier League Asia Trophy, the youth tournament and showcase the wider football development work in China. during the Premier League Asia Trophy on July 19, 2019 in Shanghai, China. ((Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images for Premier League)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 19: Richard Masters of Premier League speech during the cocktail reception to celebrate the Premier League Asia Trophy, the youth tournament and showcase the wider football development work in China. during the Premier League Asia Trophy on July 19, 2019 in Shanghai, China. ((Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images for Premier League)

Prophetic words, non-Newcastle United takeover related, from a Middle East journalistic heavyweight, widely regarded as the father of modern Arab reporting, Mustafa Amin.

Taken out of context these words, on Islamic liberalism, can easily be twisted to quite perfectly reflect a situation which, for many reasons, is spiralling out of control on Tyneside.

From the liberal musings of Amin, to the antithesis of his words - the slightly more liberal than before, but still an absolute, totalitarian monarchy, Saudi Arabia.

Premier League chiefs have long toyed with the idea of granting the Saudi fox a run of the chicken coup - but 86 days since papers were filed with the regulatory body, the Geordie nation waits still, for someone, anyone, to put their head on the chopping block and say, 'it's done'. But, of course, this time with solid basis, facts and meaning.

We all know the arguments - we're all long tired of them, too.

Piracy - sadly not the Blackbeard, skull and crossbones kind - is the crux of the problem, always has been.

For every Hatice Cengiz statement, claim and counter-claim from an agenda-ridden Twitter account, the rewrites and rehashing of human rights concerns from Amnesty and others, no-mark MPs with a geopolitical axe to grind (search SNP and Qatar for some flesh on the bones) and more, still the Premier League are edging towards granting the fabled 'green light' to this deal.

And why?

Because they've considered all arguments of human rights abuses or crimes of international law? That's what they want you to believe.

This is not because they've dug deep into the dark, dark well that is the cultural, historical, reputational, political ethics of the country by whom the Public Investment Fund represent, the very body who want to buy 80% of M*ke Ashl*y's Newcastle.

The delays prove it. The delays only underline what we have always known - that money talks and the Premier League listens loud and clear.

"When the public discovers the deceit of one of its own men... the people lose faith..."

The delays are holding us back. The delays are causing tension, hurt, mental torture. The delays are not welcome, nor is the impact on Geordies truly understood or acknowledged by those in the halls of power at the Premier League - that means you Richard Masters.

The delays are about cash, plain and simple. Be straight about it - the silence is breeding mistrust. Fans on the street have lost all faith in the process, so too it seems have the actual decision-makers, as it is their want to 'beef up' the owners and directors test in light of challenges posed by this complex bid.

And while England and the Premier League are as far removed from PIF and Saudi Arabia as can be in a whole host of ways, making for very ill-arranged bedfellows - this takeover is within itself a paradox, a one awash with petro-dollars.

Much like the UK government courts Saudi kings, and has done since for almost 100 years, keen for a pipeline to the spigot splurging millions, billions and trillions from the ground, the Premier League is now wanting to tap into the Middle Eastern ATM - and use their global might, power and influence to enact proper change in what has proven an unruly frontier when it comes to the banditing of intellectual property rights.

As much as we hate it, Newcastle United is a pawn in this high-power game.

Masters this week, for the first time in this process, discussed the NUFC deal directly. It was welcome communication but not enough.

United fans, the club, its players and staff have been treated with little to no respect in this process. The time has come for the Premier League to come clean. Treat fans like adults, talk.

Tell everyone specifically what the problem is - there clearly is one given it's taken so long - what is being done to combat it and why this might actually be a good, or bad, thing for the league and its future. You don't have to talk about exacts of deals or give away confidential information, just be open and honest about what you're trying to do - squeeze a little more for your members, which is the just and right thing to do.

What is not just and right is the need to do so to the detriment of one of those member clubs, one you should value much more than it appears.

Masters is walking a tightrope. Should he navigate the high rope, overcoming a seemingly impossible situation to reveal the promised land, he could prove the most successful Premier League chief in a long while, despite reportedly being well down their list of candidates. He was at least third choice.

A yes would see a strong Newcastle grow, create a new Premier League narrative, a cash flow at a time when the stores are running dry (relatively) and most importantly, when it comes to the body he represents, a breakthrough in the years-long battle to tackle piracy in the MENA region. This, of course, could well lead to the Saudis blowing BeIN, who have hit some financial trouble of late, out the water when it comes to rights. It is my understanding that will be the case, with Saudi plans already in place to go to war with their Qatari rivals - 'BeIN bid x, we will give you £50m more'.

Should he fall? God (or Allah) only knows what awaits him when he lands. Whitehall, No10 and the foreign office would be his first calls, then likely the legal teams from the Middle East and beyond. That's before the anger is directed his way from a down-trodden fanbase. Richard Masters and Premier League will become expletives around the banks of the Tyne.

"Deceit of one of its own men... the people lose faith..."

As fans are losing faith with the people who govern the game, it's hard to remember when that faith was lost with Mike Ashley, it was so many moons ago.

He once tried to be one of us, drink with us, wear the black and white, ply the locals with booze. He once bought the whole of a Bigg Market nightclub a drink, following one particular drunken jaunt north in the early days. It is not known whether any fireplaces were harmed in the making of this anecdote.

Newcastle fans have long known Ashley's ways, which only very recently have become a part of national consciousness. They've had 13 years of his lies, half truths and vindictive decisions.

To some, another month or so with him being United's Premier League puppet master would be a small price to pay, for many the cutting of the strings is long, long overdue.

Should Ashley remain for too much longer it could prove the perfect storm on Tyneside - and we've had two of those in 13 years so know exactly what it feels like.

We feared for our Premier League lives last summer - but this one could prove a whole lot worse, if the malaise continues to be facilitated by the sloth-like division’s dithering.

Steve Bruce is the manager, but does not know if he will remain next season. He has transfer targets but cannot move on them to any great degree. The club's scouting operation has been rolled back, just for the short-term we hope. Ashley is still the owner but no longer wants to be. If you thought he cared little before, imagine what it will be like if this deal falls through, or drags out further. Players do not know if they have a contract, a future and who will decide it. The same goes for the rest of the staff. The limbo, grouped with every other pressure in the post-coronavirus world, must be suffocating.

"Deceit... faith."

While the Premier League hide behind their 'confidentiality' with webs woven tight, faith is all we have.

Faith that the Premier League will come to the right decision, whatever that may be. Faith the decision will come 'shortly'. Faith we are cut loose, free to dream, thrive and live. Faith we will one day get our club back. Faith the Saudis will spend, faith we might yet see United win a cup, a meaningful one, not Scott Parker’s top of the class Intertoto certificate, or the second tier. Faith this finally is the end of the 13-year stain on a rich 128-year history. But faith only gets us so far. We need a decision - and we need it now.

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