UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament on July 14, 2021 in London, England.
In June around 200 Newcastle United fans congregated in central London to protest - a voicing of their displeasure at the perceived procrastination by the Premier League despite a £300m+ takeover being agreed between current owner Mike Ashley and the PCP Consortium.
Bus loads of Geordies descended on the capital in a show of strength, firstly invading Parliament Square, then taking their challenge to Downing Street and Premier League HQ.
While pro-NUFC chants and well-observed peaceful protest was the order of the day, two letters were also hand-delivered during the process.
One to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, via top flight staff, and the other to 10 Downing Street, the residence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
And National World can reveal exactly what the letter said.
So what did the letter say?
Here it is, in full...
Dear Mr Johnson,
We hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits.
We appreciate that as Prime Minister you’re busy and have got a lot on at the minute, however we would hope that investment in the North East may be something that you could assist us with.
It wasn’t long ago that you were comparing parts of the Premier League to a cartel, and we think most Newcastle United (NUFC) fans would agree that the behaviour adopted by the owners of some clubs has fallen short of their, and our, expectations as fans and lovers of the beautiful game.
Interesting that the Premier League’s (PL) owners’ and directors’ tests aren’t often mentioned in the same way as the formation of the European Super League (ESL) but clearly, if they are designed to protect clubs and their fans, then they should protect the league and its interests.
In the way that the footballing fanbase did over the ESL and we all appreciated your swift and forthright intervention on this matter.
It would have killed competition in football and as we as a country rally from defeat with a view to coming back stronger it is the Northeast which is calling on your assistance.
As we’re sure you are aware, NUFC is currently going through an arbitration with the PL in relation to a proposed takeover.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia is one of the consortium members who have indicated significant investment in the North East should this takeover go through. Significant investment in line with the governments Build Back Better and levelling up agendas which could reinvigorate the North East economy and positively impact millions of people in the region.
What you may not know is that the PL told our supporters trust they aspired to be more transparent with fans. Our club has asked the PL for the arbitration to be transparent and in public and yet the PL have not responded. They haven’t responded to recent letters from MPs, Oliver Dowden’s call in his Twitter video or the Independent Football Ombudsman’s latest concerns that NUFC fans’ calls for transparency are wholly legitimate.
In the absence of a real regulatory body, we have written to MPs, the FA and have contributed to Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review.
And now Mr Prime Minister we are asking for your support to intervene and compel the Premier League to act in a transparent way, for the benefit of Newcastle United, their fans and for football as a whole.
Kind regards, T: @ProtestNUFC
Did the protesters get a response from the PM or the Premier League?
In short, no.
Sadly the letters seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the corridors of power at the top flight and government.
So what happens next?
Well, as we all know the arbitration, which protesters were calling to be made public, was postponed until ‘early 2022’.
This left the club and buyers disappointed with reports of both sides failing to provide adequate information when it came to the legal disclosure stage of the process.
St James’ Holdings, one of Mike Ashley’s companies, also have a Competition Appeal Tribunal hearing in late September, which will decide if the court can rule over whether there has been anti-competitive behaviour at play or not in the process.
This, according to the Premier League, should be pushed into a private arbitration, as per the Premier League rules.
Since then Newcastle United fans have channelled their efforts into more protests, with a significant taking place on the opening day of the Magpies’ Premier League season at St James’ Park.