Newcastle United were beaten 3-2 by Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park and it was a day to remember for the Toon Army, as it marked their first match since their Saudi Arabian-backed takeover
Newcastle United’s new era under Saudi Arabian-backed ownership began in disappointing fashion on the pitch – but the Toon Army marked the occasion by ensuring they made the most of the day off it.
Tottenham Hotspur ran out 3-2 winners at St James’ Park, despite Callum Wilson putting the Magpies ahead after just two minutes to send the crowd into poetic pandemonium.
But Spurs turned things around through Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane, gaining the lead before the match was suspended for 25 minutes due a fan falling ill in the stands.
Heung-min Son extended the away side’s lead shortly after the restart, before a second half which included a Jonjo Shelvey red card and Eric Dier own goal to give the hosts hope.
Steve Bruce earned his 1,000th game in management but he will not want to remember the 90 minutes of play.
However, they was plenty to enjoy off it – barring the obvious scare midway through the match – as the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund oversaw their first game as owners.
Here are sixth things Mirror Football spotted from Newcastle’s new beginning.
Ant and Dec’s emotion
Sky Sports commentator summed the famous names on show up best after famed television duo and boyhood fans Ant and Dec came on screen: “I’m a celebrity, get me in here!”
Just like a number of ex-players, the pair were taking in the atmosphere in the final minutes before kick-off, visibly emotional as the St James’ Park clock ticked towards 16:30.
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly watched on before the players emerged and wouldn’t have to wait long for Wilson’s opener to send the crowd wild so early on in poetic fashion.
Newcastle United via Getty Image)
New owner’s delight
When the striker’s header hit the back of the net, everyone but the away section were seemingly on their feet.
And the club’s new regime were no exception, with Amanda Staveley and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi jumping for joy as Wilson reeled away in celebration.
Staveley spearheaded the Saudi-backed takeover in her role as chief executive of PCP Capital Partners, who were members of the consortium.
She has been hailed as the queen on Tyneside in recent weeks but the game showed she and her fellow directors have plenty of work to do in the north east.
When referee Andre Marriner received a shout from Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilon regarding an incident that the players had been alerted to by the nearby crowd, the mood of the day took a turn.
A fan, who was later stabilised and taken to hospital, had fallen ill and required immediate medical attention.
It was then that Marriner took the players off for what proved to be a 25-suspension.
When the players retook the field, St James’ Park gave the medics a wonderful reception, praising their for their life-saving efforts.
A pitch-side defibrillator was taken across to the ill supporter during the commotion and their survival is testament to how crucial the devices are anywhere.
This one was never in any doubt.
Plenty of the Toon Army decked themselves in clothing reminiscent of the thawbs worn in Saudi Arabia.
Instead of the more familiar elements that make up the garment, supporters used tea towels to emulate the design, clearly pleased to welcome and willing to accommodate the new owners to their home.
Whether it be an incoming manager or player, football fans love to make new chants – but rarely for an owner.
Newcastle supporters had them for Ashley, although that was different.
According to Daily Mail reporter Craig Hope, some fans chanted outside the stadium: “We’re the Saudi Mags”, and ‘f*** off Man City, we’re richer than you.”
That is a result of the PIF having a reported wealth of £320billion, almost 11 times more than City owner Sheikh Mansour’s £23.3billion fortune.
Chelsea, accused of paying for success by critics in recent years, are owned by Roman Abramovich, who boasts £9.6billion.
“We will rebuild”
Despite the result not going their way, things are certainly looking up for the Magpies.
With their much-maligned previous owner out the door, Newcastle supporters can begin to believe again, with Wor Flags ensuring the occasion was marked with a banner.
It used lyrics from the song Big River, local artist Jimmy Nail’s hit song about the River Tyne and the industry that once used to dominate it.
The display read: “‘Cause this is a mighty town.
“Built upon a solid ground, and everything they’ve tried so hard to kill – we will rebuild.”