(Reuters) – English Premier League club Newcastle United were taken over by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium on Thursday ending Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership of the north-east club.
The consortium includes Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.
Following is reaction to the news:
FORMER NEWCASTLE AND ENGLAND STRIKER ALAN SHEARER
“Yesssssssss. We can dare to hope again.”
NEWCASTLE CAPTAIN JAMAAL LASCELLES
“An eventful day! The end of one era and the start of another. It’s always an honour to captain this special club and I hope that we can all now be United. Exciting times ahead, let’s get us back to where this club should be.”
NEWCASTLE MIDFIELDER JOE WILLOCK
“Newcastle Fans, you deserve it, a new start a new beginning together as one we March on.”
NEWCASTLE STRIKER CALLUM WILSON
“Takeover complete. Amazing news!! So happy for all you fans who’ve waited so long for this day!! What an exciting journey ahead we have.”
EX-NEWCASTLE AND ENGLAND FORWARD MICHAEL OWEN
“Such good news for everyone associated with @NUFC. New ownership is exactly what the club needed. Renewed optimism, it could be a game changer for the club.”
NEWCASTLE MIDFIELDER ISAAC HAYDEN
“Exciting times for the club and the city of Newcastle. Enjoy your cans #NUFC fans”
MINKY WORDEN, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL INITIATIVES AT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, TO REUTERS
“Given the Saudi Arabian government’s poor human rights record, this is a wake-up call to fans, broadcasters and players that sports should not be a tool for erasing human rights abuse.
“This is against the backdrop of a strategy by Saudi Arabia to use sports teams, athletes and major sporting events in the country to distract from its national human rights crises.”
Saudi Arabia denies allegations of human rights abuses.
FORMER NEWCASTLE GOALKEEPER SHAY GIVEN
“Well it was a long time in coming but finally the fans have got what they deserve. Owners that want to put @NUFC back up where it belongs and have ambitions to challenge at the top table. Exciting times ahead for the Toon army #NUFCTakeover”
TELEVISION PRESENTERS ANT AND DEC
“Oh what a beautiful day…”
NEWCASTLE COUNCIL LEADER NICK FORBES, TO THE BBC
“It does feel like we are at the moment of change after 14 years of a regime that I think everybody realises hasn’t been great for the club.
“Everybody is in agreement that the club needs a new purpose, a new direction, new ownership and new leadership.”
NUFC SUPPORTERS TRUST
“A fresh start. A new era. Welcome to Newcastle United Football Club.”
EX-ENGLAND PLAYER AND CHILDHOOD NEWCASTLE FAN BRYAN ROBSON
“The 52,000 fans who go to Newcastle United for every home game, they deserve a bit of success. I can remember the 1968-69 season is the last time we won a major trophy, the Fairs Cup. That’s unfair on the passionate fans that they are.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris)