What Newcastle's Influx of Capital Means for The City

What Newcastle’s Influx of Capital Means for The City

When Newcastle United fans come together under their slogan “One City, One United”, no other city can rival the friendly, family atmosphere on match day. The pubs and bars around St James Park are alive with excitement and friendly rivalry. Football fans who have experienced the sport in other cities might be surprised by the lack of aggression, genuinewarmth, and camaraderie here. The Magpies are delighted that Amanda Staveley has brought them their club back.

Mark Breillat (otherwise known as Geordie Lad), a proud fan,recently posted an appreciative picture of her on his LinkedIn profile with the words,

“OHHHH, MANDY, YOU CAME, AND YOU GAVE US OUR CLUB BACK 🖤🤍🖤🤍
What a person Amanda Staveley is!
She got £35m to help restore the Tyne Bridge and £23m per year to help fund free school meals for children of the North East 🖤🤍”.

By all accounts, the takeover (or takeback) of the club by a consortium consisting of PCP Capital Partners (ie Amanda Staveley), Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) has been greeted with great optimism.

Since the takeover was approved, the new owners got planning permission to redevelop the club’s training ground at Darsley Park; this is probably only a short-term solution. The improvements will help bolster the overall facilities and catch up with the lack of investment the club suffered under the hands of its previous owner. However, it is the acclaimed £3 billion investment into the region that is turning heads and causing considerable excitement. On May 14th, Deputy PM (for now) Oliver Dowden announced the ongoing investment in the North East from Saudi Arabia and claimed it would sustain around 2,000 jobs.

Businesses in the area are already jumping on board, and the city is becoming a centre for technical excellence. It is known as an innovation neighbourhood, attracting state-of-the-artcompanies to the city. One of the world’s top game studios,Ubisoft Reflections, has set up camp in Newcastle. Their portfolio includes legendary titles like Assassin’s Creed and Avatar Frontiers of Pandora. This same technology sits behind the burgeoning casino gaming industry, offering online casino bonuses and chances to win money while playing. Companies are popping up all over the city, offering an array of options and titles for global partners. Bede Gaming is a world-class software developer in the gambling industry with operations in Newcastle, Sofia (Bulgaria), and Toronto (Canada). 

However, it is not just tech companies that are benefiting. The hospitality industry is also reaping the rewards of having happy fans and a thriving match-day economy. Pubs and clubs are delighted to welcome fans from visiting clubs and the Magpies have rejoiced that their beloved Shearers recently got its name back after being renamed Nine in 2013. Newcastle is known as rival fans’ favourite away venue, and people pour into the city and stay at any number of recently refurbished or redeveloped city centre locations. Welcoming up to 1,000 customers it is the place fans head for before kick-off.

Plans for the new Stack development have been approved despite police concerns about large numbers of drinkers outside St James’s Park. The development is being built from 50 shipping containers on a disused car park and will feature food outlets, bars, large screens and live music venues. The new ‘fan zone’ will have capacity for 3,000 people and be open seven days a week. The venue’s operators have promised to observe any reasonable directions made by the police as a term of their licensing agreement at times of high risk.

Meanwhile, Crown Works is bringing Hollywood to the North East, as Sunderland Council has greenlit the development of an enormous TV production complex. The studio hub will have 19 premium sound stages, workshops and offices; it is being built on a brownfield site on the banks of the River Wear and promises to create over 8,000 jobs in the region. It will provide all the infrastructure required to support blockbuster productions and smaller projects, too. The work will happen in three phases and should be completed by 2027. 

Fiona Surrey (also known as Geordie Lass), Magpies fan and local business innovator, says that having a business in Newcastle is absolutely incredible. 

She added,

“I’m so proud and excited as to what our future holds. Our innovation in digital transformation and social impact has increased, especially since setting up our marketing business.FSM Ltd has worked with many different businesses, Charities and those wanting to achieve social value and growth in our region. From smart tech for good campaigns working alongside our NHS to our educational sectors in inspiring our future generations to mental health campaigns which we fully embrace and champion those who need a voice to be heard.”

However, all this investment into the city and club does not come without its detractors, and human rights campaigners, including Amnesty International, have expressed concerns about connections with the Saudi regime and labelled the investment as sports washing. The club’s chairman, Yasir al-Rmyayyan, was described last year in a US court document as a sitting minister of the Saudi government. Amnesty has called for the Premier League to re-examine assurances made that the Saudi state would not have any control of the club. 

However, what fans love is that Amanda Staveley is not just a passive investor but a genuine fan who loves the game and loves the club. As a woman operating in a man’s word, she set out to liberate the club from its previous owner, who was known as one of the most despised people in North East folklore. These achievements have made her a local legend.

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