Saudi era begins in Newcastle with Spurs visit
MANCHESTER, England, October 14 (Reuters) – Newcastle United begin their new era under Saudi ownership when they face Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park with Steve Bruce set for his 1,000th game as manager and possibly his last with the Northeast Club.
Last week, much to their fans’ delight, Newcastle was sold to a consortium dominated by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) alongside minority partners PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.
While human rights groups such as Amnesty International have condemned the Saudi takeover, Newcastle supporters are delighted to see former owner Mike Ashley sell his stake in the club and have relished the investment pledges “heavy” in new players.
Many fans would also like to see the back of Bruce, who despite being from the area and having managed to keep the club in the top flight, has been unpopular with fans.
The media and bookmakers are already speculating on his successor, but after a meeting with the new board of directors, Bruce remains in his post.
Sunday’s game is expected to see further celebrations from Newcastle fans, but could be an embarrassing opportunity for Bruce – if he remains in charge of the squad which is second-to-last in the Premier League.
Newcastle’s goal is to break into the top flight of English football, a status Tottenham have enjoyed in recent seasons but are struggling to maintain.
Spurs appeared to consolidate in the upper echelon after four consecutive seasons of ranking in the top four, including in 2019 when they reached the Champions League final.
But the past two seasons have seen the club finish sixth and then seventh and a mixed start under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo has left Spurs in eighth place ahead of Sunday’s game.
Chelsea are the first leader after seven games but will face a tough test on Saturday at promoted Brentford, who impressed with wins against Arsenal and West Ham United and a draw with Liverpool.
Manchester United are starting a string of tricky games, following the disappointment of a loss to Aston Villa and a draw with Everton, with a visit to Leicester City on Saturday.
Liverpool will kick off the weekend at Watford on Saturday midday while Manchester City will expect three points at home against Burnley without a win.
Reporting by Simon Evans Editing by Toby Davis
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