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7 Oct, 2021 17:14

Talk of the Toon: Ecstatic Newcastle fans take to the streets in celebration after Saudi takeover confirmed (VIDEO)

Talk of the Toon: Ecstatic Newcastle fans take to the streets in celebration after Saudi takeover confirmed (VIDEO)

Supporters of Premier League club Newcastle have gathered near the club’s St. James’ Park home to release their joy after the news that a £300 million Saudi-led takeover of the club had been confirmed.

After a saga which dragged on for 18 months, the news was finally confirmed by Newcastle and the Premier League on Thursday that a deal had gone through and that widely-reviled owner Mike Ashley would be departing after 14 years in control.

READ MORE: Saudi-backed takeover of Premier League Newcastle CONFIRMED as club set to be catapulted into football’s mega-rich elite

Footage captured from outside St. James Park showed the jubilation among Newcastle fans.

Online, Toon Army fan groups and players past and present – such as all-time top scorer Alan Shearer – were likewise jubilant.

“We can dare to hope again,” said Shearer to his Twitter following.

Also seen celebrating was the glamorous face of the bid, UK businesswoman Amanda Staveley. 

Staveley's PCP Capital Partners group will acquire a 10% stake in the club, while billionaire UK property developers David and Simon Reuben will gain the other 10%.

However, the driving financial force for the bid has been the mammoth Saudi sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is estimated to have a total asset value of around $500 billion. 

Its governor, Yasir al-Rumayyan, will now be installed as Newcastle's new non-executive chairman.

One of the stumbling blocks to the bid had been an apparent lack of clarity over who exactly would run Newcastle, although the Premier League is said to have been assured that despite the financial backing of the PIF, the Saudi state would not be involved in managing Newcastle.

Paving the way for the deal had also been the resolution of a row over pirate broadcasts between Qatari-based media outlet beIN Sports – a key Premier League partner – and the authorities in Saudi Arabia.  

Despite the ecstasy among Newcastle fans, human rights activists had continued to rail against the deal until the very last minute, accusing the Gulf state of further 'sportswashing' its image through the acquisition of the club. 

READ MORE: Activists and widow of slain journalist Khashoggi in desperate late bid to halt Saudi takeover of Newcastle

Newcastle fans, however, were more concerned about the departure of Ashley, who has been accused of failing to invest in developing the club during a tenure which has seen them alternate being spells in the second-tier Championship and mediocrity in the Premier League. 

With the deep pockets of their new Saudi owners surpassing even the likes of mega-rich rivals Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain – both of whom are powered by petrocash from the Middle East – Newcastle fans are already dreaming of a spending spree on new talent which will see them push back up the league, with dreams of returning to European competition and potentially ending their long wait for silverware.