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13th Oct 2021

Jonjo Shelvey becomes first Newcastle player to speak on “exciting” Saudi takeover

Daniel Brown

“This club can achieve anything it wants now, the sky is the limit”

Newcastle United man Jonjo Shelvey has broken Newcastle players’ silence on the “exciting” Saudi takeover and revealed his views on the club’s new owners.

The Magpies have recently been taken over by the Saudi Public Investment Fund – chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – and are now the richest club in the world, armed with a net worth believed to be in the region of £320billion.

Following the announcement that the takeover had been completed, fans were understandably joyous that Mike Ashley’s 14-year tenure as owner of the club had come to an end.

Under the direction of the Sports Direct owner, Newcastle have endured a difficult period in recent years, with a lack of investment in both the playing squad and facilities leading to just three top ten Premier League finishes since the 2011/12 season.

Shelvey has spoken about the ‘relief’ that the old regime is now over and discussed how much the Magpies fanbase have suffered in recent years.

“That reaction at the stadium is unique. The fans have suffered a lot in the past, so I think what we saw was a release of frustration and relief that the deal had finally happened,” said the 29-year-old, speaking to SportsMail,

“Credit to the fans, too, because they have helped push this deal through. It gives us all so much to look forward to.”

The midfielder went on to address the comments made by Amanda Staveley, who suggested that the clubs’ aim was to be as big as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain by winning major honours like the Premier League and Champions League.

“I probably won’t be around when that does happen!” Shelvey claimed. “I know how long that could take.

“But to hear someone come in and say that, as a footballer, it makes you want to stay and fight for a place to be a part of it, those aspirations and goals.

“I’ve got 18 months left on my contract, so it comes down to me to show the people in charge what I’m about. I have to look after number one, it’s my career.

“So it is nerve-racking, but I’m a positive person and I’ll try to grasp the opportunity with both hands. There is excitement and nerves, I suppose.”

Although the former Liverpool and Swansea City player expressed his pleasure at seeing fans celebrate the news, he also urged them to be realistic about the short-term future of the club.

“I understand what the fans want – they want Mbappe and Messi. All I can say is, that won’t come overnight, we have to be realistic.

“In terms of the set-up, we all know the training-ground facilities are below par when it comes to Premier League standard.

“As players we’ve got on with it and we’ve had to deal with that to the best of our ability.

“The money just hasn’t been there. That was hard to accept.”

Despite this, Shelvey stated that the ‘long process’ that is likely to see heavy investment is one that Newcastle fans deserve, going on to suggest that the “sky is the limit”.

“This club can achieve anything it wants now, the sky is the limit,” he said.

Newcastle’s first game under new ownership takes place on Sunday (17 October) when they host Spurs at St. James’ Park.

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