Hordes of jubilant Newcastle fans gathered outside the St James stadium yesterday. They had flairs, songs and genuine relief. It was a heart warming sight to be honest. A fanbase that has had to swallow so much hopelessness finally have something to cheer about. 14 long years under Mike Ashley’s ownership has finally come to an end and they didn’t just escape, they’ve hit the proverbial jackpot.

A Saudi based consortium has taken over the club and Amanda Stavely is already talking of winning the Premier League in five year’s time. Geordies are dreaming again amidst fanciful talk of Antonio Conte or Zinedine Zidane taking over from Steve Bruce, not to mention the Mbappes, Salahs and Haalands of this world joining the Magpies.

When your new owners have a net worth of £320 billion, you’re free to dream. It all reminds me of September 2008, when Sheikh Mansour took over Manchester City and heralded a new era of spending not seen since Russian oligarch Roman Abramovic, did same at Chelsea five years prior.

Growing up through the mid to late noughties, I was accustomed to a “top four” in the Premier League. Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea (after Roman) and my beloved Liverpool. Champions League qualification was always a given under Rafa Benitez. We never quite won the league but we had no problem finishing above the other 16.

So much so, that Rafa said he could guarantee the club a top four finish, after pressure mounted in 2009/10 following a string of bad results. That 09/10 season was City’s second after the takeover. They finished the first in tenth place, with Liverpool finishing an agonising second, four points behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in that 08/09 season.

By the second season after the takeover, the landscape had shifted. Boardroom bickering and our own ownership issues had caught up with us at exactly the time City began their ascent up the table. We finished seventh. City finished fifth after another massive spending spree, missing out on top four qualification by just three points.

Rafa’s ‘guarantee’ had blown up in his face and he was given the sack. The club plundered into the abyss as gross mismanagement saw administration become a real possibility. It took years to recover, and in the eleven seasons since then, Liverpool have only finished above Manchester City once. That that came in the title winning campaign of 2019/20 tells you all you need to know.

City have grown and grown and become a behemoth on the local scene, hoovering up almost all the trophies available. How many Premier League titles would Jurgen Klopp’s side have if Sheikh Mansour took over Fiorentina (for example) instead of the blue half of Manchester? City’s emergence has made it doubly hard to win trophies.

Jordan Henderson with Liverpool’s only Premier League title

This is not to say Newcastle will follow a similar trajectory. We’ve equally seen clubs burn out quick after coming into some money (Malaga and Anzhi come to mind). The City blueprint is there to follow though, as is the Chelsea blueprint. Newcastle won’t be our business for a few years yet. With Klopp at the helm, we should still compete for honours.

When he leaves in 2024 though, it would be three years since Newcastle came into endless reserves of money. You’d expect the new owners to have managed to put together a team ready to gatecrash the top four by then. Whoever takes over from the charismatic German will have another financially doped up foe to contend with.

We’ve already seen how difficult it is beating the ones already in place. Adding another to the mix in a couple of years will only make the challenge harder. You’re left wondering what would happen to the perfectly laid out Moneyball plans FSG have relied on in the hopes that FFP will even the playing field. Without that guarantee, will FSG pack up and leave?

Especially without Jurgen Klopp and Michael Edwards (who is rumoured to be on his way out this summer)? The future without these two isn’t clear, as they’ve been integral to making the whole system work. That is before you look at the playing squad and where they will be in 2024. Time as always, will tell. For now though, I’m happy for Newcastle.



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