We Are Newcastle United, the brand new Amazon Prime documentary sequence, will be the first of a brand new sporting style: the Financial Fair Play drama. It is extra in regards to the boardroom than the dressing room; much less is revealed in regards to the guarded Eddie Howe than within the deluxe settings of Alnwick Castle, the place his employers are extra involved by the underside line than the ahead line.
Take for instance the gripping seek for a brand new shirt sponsor.
Newcastle United approached 1,193 firms. They had an preliminary assembly with 65 of them. They have been whittled all the way down to 9, then 4, then two, earlier than they selected Sela, a Saudi Arabian sports activities occasions and hospitality firm. Which can appear slightly handy to some. Newcastle’s revenue has been inflated this summer time and a industrial deal has come from the homeland of their homeowners, whereas Allan Saint-Maximin has been bought to the Saudi Pro-League.
As Newcastle’s varied powerbrokers focus on the Sela contract, co-owner Amanda Staveley asks if they’ll defend it, whether it is truthful market worth. The reply comes within the affirmative. Some outsiders may be sceptical.
There is, admittedly, little suspense in discovering that Newcastle does, in any case, discover a shirt sponsor however its significance is underlined. The underlying situation is the best way to create sufficient income throughout the guidelines. It will not be so simple as simply pumping cash in.
“We are not going to overspend, otherwise we will be in big trouble on Fair Play,” says Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Newcastle chairman and governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Saudi.
Amanda Staveley displays on the Carabao Cup last defeat by referencing Manchester United’s huge industrial revenue. At one other level, she frets: “If we can only spend a certain amount we have to assume we are not going to get Champions League next season.”
It is not any spoiler to say they do and no shock that their sights are set larger once more.
“We want to be a Real Madrid, a Barcelona. To get ourselves to that point we need to spend money,” says Mehrdad Ghodoussi, Staveley’s husband and one other co-owner.
Al-Rumayyan provides: “We want to compete not only for the third or fourth position, we want to be number one.”
There is not any lack of ambition: Al-Rumayyan needs the value of the Saudi Public Investment Fund to succeed in $2 trillion and Newcastle’s worth to extend tenfold.
If it suggests he’s no mere benefactor, there’s a sense Newcastle really feel themselves the bogeymen for the remainder of the Premier League. Their model of occasions is broadcast, their adversaries – other than a few press-conference clips of Jürgen Klopp – are often off-screen. But there’s pushback to their takeover.
“I think there was a fear we would have an unfair advantage,” says Staveley. “They said it was the Saudi state, which is absolute rubbish. It is not Saudi Arabia, it is the Public Investment Fund.”
There is the sense from her that the goalposts have been moved to hamstring Newcastle, with a short-lived ban on sponsorship offers from firms linked to their homeowners. “I was shocked we could buy a club, pay a full price and then rules just changed,” she says. “I think that’s what pissed me off.”
The different villain of the dramais Mike Ashley, whose years of neglect left Newcastle United a good distance behind their rivals.
Peter Silverstone, the Chief Commercial Officer, compares the scale of their industrial group along with his former membership Arsenal’s.
“We don’t have time to make mistakes,” he notes, whereas suggesting he was made a proposal he couldn’t refuse: “When you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask which seat, you just get on board.”
Silverstone argues that the Sela deal will assist Newcastle change into “the most followed, most supported club in Saudi Arabia”. If Bruno Guimaraes is the likeable Sean Longstaff’s favorite participant – and has no objection when a classroom of faculty kids nominate his midfield sidekick, not him – he’s additionally Silverstone’s.
“From a commercial perspective, he ticks every box,” he says. “He will attract more fans to Newcastle.”
A recurring theme is that Newcastle has to take care of kilos and pennies; not due to the Saudi PIF’s financial institution steadiness, however resulting from FFP. The January negotiations for Anthony Gordon are extended, Everton’s preliminary calls for for £60 million are deemed extreme. “They are bluffing,” says the negotiator in Staveley after a bid is rejected. They ultimately get Gordon with an effusive tribute from Staveley: “Anthony is going to be one of the best players in the league and Eddie just adores him.”
All such reveals are an try to humanise. Staveley comes throughout as caring and concerned, saying she fell in love with Newcastle United, going into the dressing room after the Carabao Cup semi-final win to deal with the group: “You’re going to get the Champions bloody League this year, I am telling you.” She provides Gordon her and Ghodoussi’s telephone numbers and tells the newcomer to name if he ever wants something. She has a behavior of calling everybody – from Callum Wilson to an agent she telephones – as “my angel”; for Staveley, the Angel of the North will not be a statue by the A1 as a lot as everybody she encounters.
Al-Rumayyan invitations the gamers to his home throughout their World Cup coaching camp in Saudi Arabia. Earlier, requested in regards to the appointment of Howe, who he learns was relegated with Bournemouth, he replies dryly: “That’s even better, he knows what not to do.”
Howe, although, proves an impressed alternative by decision-makers who’ve proven a certain contact to date. Staveley claims that, at one stage in 2021, there was a 96 per cent probability United would have gone down. “That would be a disaster,” she says.
Disaster was averted, success fast-tracked. Newcastle begin this season within the Champions League, not the Championship. Money has performed an element within the transformation and cash is a continuing concern. They have the flagship signing Sandro Tonali this summer time, and this week’s acquisition, Tino Livramento, however the one different purchase is Harvey Barnes, whose arrival from Leicester City was in impact paid for by the sale of Saint-Maximin.
They are Newcastle United; not as they have been in 2021 or maybe as they are going to be in 2025, however a membership with Saudi cash in an ongoing battle with the steadiness sheet.
The unique documentary sequence WE ARE NEWCASTLE UNITED, which is able to launch on Prime Video with the primary episode on Friday eleventh August, adopted by new episodes each Friday by way of to September 1st.