When Newcastle United was taken over by a consortium back in October led by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), "key" to green-lighting the sale was the Premier League's moral assurance that the new owners wouldn't be mixed up in the sort of things that the Saudi government has been guilty of lately, like the dismembering of Jamal Khashoggi, the disastrous war in Yemen or its "appalling" human rights record.
"Breakthrough made after owners have finally proved to the Premier League that PIF involvement will be separate from Saudi state," championed the Premier League in a statement to journalists following confirmation of the sale — separation between the PIF and Saudi government meant we could all go back to cheering on Joelinton's latest midfield exploits with sound peace of mind.
Except everyone, everywhere knew it was complete bullshit from the off. Mohammed bin Salman is the chairman of the PIF; he's also the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. But the PIF splashed $113.41 million in the January window, Newcastle climbed from 19th on Matchday 20 to 11th by season's end and the Arab headdresses were back out on Tyneside in celebration.
Maybe sensing that it's time to strike when the iron's hot, Newcastle's new owners have clearly decided against a gentle sort of sportswashing and are ready to just straight up turn the Magpies into the Green Falcons.
Newcastle's latest 2022-23 third kit — which is expected to feature a Saudi Arabian sponsor as well — has leaked on Footy Headlines, and it's a Saudi Arabia national team kit.
The home and away kits have leaked as well. Castore has an impressive record with Newcastle's home shirt.