The Newcastle United midfielder is the first of the current crop of Magpies stars to give his views on the controversial Saudi-led takeover of the club that makes them the richest club on the planet
Newcastle United star Jonjo Shelvey has revealed his views on the club’s new owners – claiming he wanted to celebrate with the fans and “get out there with a beer myself.”
The club are now in the hands of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and are armed with a staggering level of wealth, believed to be in the region of £320bn.
The takeover spells the end of Mike Ashley’s 14-year tenure as owner of the club, the Sports Direct mogul falling out of favour with the fans years ago.
Ashely’s ownership has been somewhat of a black cloud over the club, a lack of investment leading to a significant drop in quality on the pitch in recent years.
News of the takeover sparked jubilant celebrations outside St James Park, something Shelvey put down to relief that the old regime was over.
Speaking to SportsMail, the 29-year-old said: “That reaction at the stadium is unique. The fans have suffered a lot in the past, so I think what we saw was a release of frustration and relief that the deal had finally happened.
“Credit to the fans, too, because they have helped push this deal through. It gives us all so much to look forward to.”
Shelvey went on to address the comments made by Amanda Staveley – who boasts a 10 percent share in the club as a result of the takeover, where she revealed the club’s ambition to be as big as Manchester City and PSG by winning honours such as the Premier League and Champions League.
“I probably won’t be around when that does happen!” Shelvey claims. “I know how long that could take.
“But to hear someone come in and say that, as a footballer, it makes you want to stay and fight for a place to be a part of it, those aspirations and goals.
“I’ve got 18 months left on my contract, so it comes down to me to show the people in charge what I’m about. I have to look after number one, it’s my career.
“So it is nerve-racking, but I’m a positive person and I’ll try to grasp the opportunity with both hands. There is excitement and nerves, I suppose.”
Amid all the celebrations, Shelvey has urged fans to be realistic over what the short-term future holds for the club.
“I understand what the fans want – they want Mbappe and Messi. All I can say is, that won’t come overnight, we have to be realistic.
“In terms of the set-up, we all know the training-ground facilities are below par when it comes to Premier League standard.
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“As players we’ve got on with it and we’ve had to deal with that to the best of our ability.
“The money just hasn’t been there. That was hard to accept.”
However, the former Liverpool and Swansea City star ended on a more optimistic note – “I understand you can’t go spending so much straight away, and it will be a long process, but it’s one that this club and the fans deserve.
“This club can achieve anything it wants now, the sky is the limit.”
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