“I have never seen anything that has happened in the city of Newcastle that has created such a special feeling of limbo” – The Athletic


Along the river and over the bridges, past the Old Castle, Amen Corner and the Real Cathedral, through the city walls, along Barrack Road and onto Strawberry Place, Newcastle upon Tyne visited St James’ Park. The wait was great. It was a historic day for Newcastle United. And maybe for the city.

It is a turning point for football. It may take months and years to fully reveal itself, but Newcastle United will never be the same again. And for the one-club city, that poses a big question: the Saudi takeover of a football club that first emerged as Stanley FC on the streets of Byker 140 years ago defiles- does it have a reputation as it washes another?

Can Newcastle United, for example, be Keegan’s Entertainers and Gazza and Saudi? Newcastle upon Tyne, the place, can it be Viz, The Likely Lads, Ant & Dec and Mohammad bin Salman? Can Tyneside maintain his warm “Whey Aye, man” profile as Wahhabism walks through the door at the top of the hill?

These are matters of separation and while we don’t see them parading for cameras on the forecourt of St James’ Park, there are plenty of fans locally for whom these issues are daily and troubling. Personal unease and discomfort doesn’t make TV come alive, but over time you may start to hear opinions like Simon Donald’s.

Donald was one of the founders of Viz, the Geordie comic strip with a very special taste.

“I have never seen anything that has happened in Newcastle that has created such a special feeling of limbo,” Donald told The Athletic. “The problem for me is that I can’t relax enough to enjoy it. And if we want to enjoy it, we have to be able to relax, we have to be comfortable with it.


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