Newcastle United takeover: How did it happen? What is the vision? What about Steve Bruce?..

The fact it has happened now after 18 months is a complete shock, too. Last week, supporters were celebrating because they had learned of a January arbitration date.

Now one of the most complicated takeovers in the league’s history is over, fans can dance on the steps of St James’ Park and dream of a brighter future.

It will be a future without owner Mike Ashley and one in which the club can compete with Europe’s biggest teams thanks to the billions the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) can provide.

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There are many issues still to resolve, however. How will Saudi Arabia’s human rights record reflect on the club? Will the Premier League explain how it came to a resolution with the consortium? How much money will Newcastle have to spend? And what of manager Steve Bruce?

For a fanbase and club which has lurched from one drama to another in the past two years, at least there is now a blank page.

How did the takeover happen?

No-one was expecting the takeover to be completed this week.

The best anyone could have hoped for was January 2022, when arbitration was scheduled as the consortium, led by financier Amanda Staveley, attempted to settle a row with the Premier League about who would have control at the club.

The Saudi state has been accused of human rights abuses and was recently embroiled in a copyright row, which would have made it tricky for the takeover to go through based on the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.

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So what the consortium needed to do was prove that the Kingdom’s PIF, which would provide 80% of the money for the takeover, was separate to the state. Difficult, perhaps, when the ruling leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also listed as PIF’s chair.

But with legal assurances provided, that has happened. It is understood there will be consequences if those agreements are broken. The consortium can also demonstrate how PIF already invests in companies, including the McLaren F1 team, without state control.

The precursor to news of the takeover going through on Wednesday was Qatar broadcaster beIN Sports saying it had resolved its dispute about Premier League football matches being broadcast illegally in Saudi Arabia.

By proving there is separation between the Saudi state and PIF, that issue becomes immaterial. But after claims that beIN had pressured the Premier League into blocking the takeover, the timing was interesting nonetheless.

How have fans reacted?

Newcastle have had an average attendance of 48,366 at their three Premier League games this season

There is no doubt the vast majority of fans are celebrating the Saudi Arabian-led takeover, no matter the potential distractions that come with it.

A Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust (NUST) survey said this week that 93.8% of its members were in favour, down from 97% last year, and previous owner Ashley was told to “get out of our club” at nearly every match.

The situation has become toxic this season. Newcastle are winless and next-to-bottom of the Premier League, and the same fans’ survey said 94% want Bruce to leave “in the best interests of the club”.

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The takeover, they hope, will wash away their pain. PIF’s assets of £250bn dwarf the wealth of Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owners and Paris St-Germain’s Qatari owners, and can conjure up images of signing players such as French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe or recruiting Antonio Conte as a replacement for Bruce.

“Fans are absolutely delighted that the disastrous 14-year reign of Ashley is almost over,” says Greg Tomlinson of NUST. “They are looking forward to having hope and belief in their football club for the first time in many years.

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