The strange tale of Newcastle United, a lacklustre English football club that hasn’t won a major domestic title since 1955, being bought after a determined hassle by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund raises many questions. It is no simple commercial deal with political pressure being brought to bear on Boris Johnson to persuade the football league to drop its objections; a rapprochement with Qatar after Trump’s exit, whose football TV rights were being undercut by a pirate Saudi broadcasting station.
Activists criticise the strategy as “sportswashing”, using the world’s favourite sport to distract from poor human rights records with the United Arab Emirates (Manchester United) and Qatar (Paris St Germain) leading the way.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund has embarked on a multibillion-dollar spending spree to develop the kingdom’s sports and entertainment sector and promote a new image for the conservative nation. According to communications first reported by the Daily Mail, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) sent text messages to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in June 2020 arguing Anglo-Saudi relations would be damaged unless the Newcastle deal was approved and that “we expect the English Premier League to reconsider and correct its wrong conclusion”. Expect?? There’s an autocracy for you.
Newcastle fans are utterly delighted at the prospect of money being poured in but as Rod Liddle points out in today’s Sunday Times the football league has been riddled with hair-raisingly appalling owners over the years, many with outright criminal associations. In a delightfully scurrilous piece which lists many of them he remarks, “Newcastle fans couldn’t care less. They’d have been cheering Pol Pot if he had a few bob to spend.”
Newcastle United was founded 9 December 1892 with a Sun in Sagittarius opposition Neptune Pluto in Gemini and square Mars in Pisces and trine Jupiter in Aries – a lucky though scattered chart, having difficulty in finding a clear focus. There is certainly a jolt showing up this year with the Solar Arc Uranus conjunct Mars but nothing much ahead indicating instant success.
The relationship between MBS of Saudi Arabia, keen to cosmeticize his image after the Khashoggi killing, and Newcastle United hints at financial disappointment in 2023 and a cooling of good feelings with considerable turbulence into 2024.
His personal chart is also rock n’ rolling at that point with tr Uranus opposing his Saturn and square his Mars; with 2023/24 being exceedingly testing times for him. Newcastle United will be the least of his concerns. And his relationship with Saudi Arabia will also be aggravated and stormy with the tr Uranus square tr Saturn hitting on the composite Sun Mars square Pluto picking up in 2022 and running on into 2024.
Amanda Staveley, the Brit businesswoman, who punted and negotiated the deal is notable for her connections with Middle Eastern investors. In 2008 she played a prominent role in the investment of £7.3 billion in Barclays by the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Qatar and was involved in the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi’s purchase of Manchester City Football Club in 2008.
Born 11 April 1973, she is married to a British-Iranian financier and lives in Dubai and Park Lane, London. She’s a charming and go-ahead Sun Venus in Aries opposition Uranus, so marked out for an unconventional lifestyle. She also has a confident and successful Pluto trine Jupiter and an enthsuiastic risk-taking Jupiter Mars conjunction in Aquarius. Plus she has an Air Grand Trine of Mars trine Saturn in Gemini trine Uranus – a communicator, hard-edged and used to associating with demanding clients. Her enthusiastic Mars Jupiter is being squashed by tr Saturn conjunct now till the turn of the year so she may be weighed down by work or facing problems elsewhere. She will face muddles and miscommunications now till early 2023 with tr Neptune conjunct her Mercury in Pisces.
Her relationship with Mohammed bin Salman is financially ambitious and superficially friendly, but is really a tinderbox with a composite Mars Uranus conjunction which is being rattled around in 2022 by the tr Saturn square tr Uranus. Not everything in that rose garden will stay pretty especially towards mid 2024 when tr Neptune is in a disappointing opposition to the composite Sun.
6 thoughts on “Newcastle United – pawns in a geo-political game + Amanda Staveley”
Any thoughts on Amanda Staveley the architect of the deal Marjorie? Born 11 April 1973.
Britain sells the Saudis and other deeply disagreeable countries in the ME billions of pounds worth of weapons, guidance systems, training and so on every year. In turn the Saudis, Qataris and others own major assets in the UK. Ownership of a football club is just another symbiotic brick in the wall, morally speaking.
Where Marjorie in a nation’s chart we would find it’s moral compass, astrologically speaking? Is it 12 House matter, ninth, Neptune’ s placement?
A moral compass won’t show up in a chart. There’s no way of telling who will live out their best side and who won’t. It’s not a concept I like but – some arrive as old souls and are more evolved; while others are still in the primitive stage of acting on their baser instincts. And there’s no way of distinguishing from the chart which is which.
The Saudis with their wealth are like the North Koreans with their nuclear weapons. Other countries wouldn’t give these barbaric governments the time of day without these claims to fame.
Thanks Marjorie. Very interesting to see these charts. This deal is part of a bigger trend, with Middle Eastern cash being invested in sport as a kind of platform for many other aims and ambitions, including property development, and ports. Saudi money is already invested in Sheffield United, for instance. Qatar has Paris St Germain, as you write, while an Iranian billionaire owns Everton, with Abu Dhabi investing in Manchester City. There have been rumours about potential Saudi investment in Inter Milan and Marseille too. I think other sports are also of financial interest across the Middle East. Possibly part of this, from a Saudi perspective, is involved with the Vision 2030 that MBS has been promoting. The rest of it is simply money, money, money and undue influence as a result.
It’s also curious to see that MBS Saturn in Scorpio, square his autocratic Leo Mars, makes a t-square with both FIFA’s founding date (21 May 1904) Saturn, 20 Aquarius, and the Premier League founding date (27 May, 1992) Saturn, 18 Aquarius. Premier League’s Pluto is at 21 Scorpio, conjunct MBS Saturn. What a toxic brew this appears to present…..
I listened to BBC R4 yesterday and they were swooning with pride and joy……it really shocked me……how can Borisstep totally away from Europe and then make it so easy for the Saudi’s to have access to UK – I find it a Machiavellian and quite brilliant tactic – since all sports have been so seriously swiped by the virus – that it appears to be heaven sent….. when the consequences of hitching up – and what the world thinks – are seriously huge…..of course all sort of Ministers will be applying for citizenship, having their kids admitted to elite universities etc…… a Prime Minister who does this is not fit to rule, its a distraction for him but seriously out of line in a democracy….why did they choose a losing team in a fairly deprived area? Yes, guess! and who let it happen……Boris is dangerous, immune to diplomacy’s rules and consequences. It does shock me that nobody has raised an objection and pursued it on those grounds. “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts…” (a hugely old saying)but the poor Greeks don’t have the wherewithal or the aim to do such huge damage, very long term.