Thursday, June 04, 2009

Oba out, Omani in?

Over a week after our 16-year stay in the Premier League came to an end, and after a handful of players have committed themselves for the future (Habib Beye, Steven Taylor, final day blunderer Damien Duff), the exit rumours are naturally intensifying.

Kevin Nolan to Hull? Yep, fine.

Alan Smith to Blackburn? Yes please.

ASBO to Bolton, Blackburn or Spurs? Even better.

But it was also inevitable that we'd lose players we'd actually rather keep. Oba Martins, for instance, would I'm sure be absolutely lethal in the Championship - but a player of his talent (though inconsistent and occasionally wayward) was always going to attract the attentions of those teams from whom we've (hopefully temporarily) parted company. And sure enough his agent claims Villa, Everton and long-time admirers Arsenal are all interested.

At the same time, .com and a few other sites are reporting the Ronny Gill's story that our new owner could be Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman.

With another club having gone into Arab ownership only this week (Portsmouth), is this just wishful thinking? Would it be desirable in any case? Do we want our club turned into a rich man's plaything? Sir John Hall I think had a point when, in a recent interview, he said Fat Mike made "massive mistakes" but did at least come "into Newcastle for the right reasons - as a long-term investor looking to build the business over four or five years. He wanted to globalise the club. He did not use it as a toy. He saw Newcastle was a fantastic brand, and he wanted to build that brand." We may want Ashley out, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should welcome any old buyer.

Anyway, on a more serious and important note, can I be the first to venture that if the deal was to go through the Dire Straits song to which the team takes to the pitch would be switched from 'Local Hero' to 'Sultans Of Swing'? Probably not...


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