Si King admits moral dilemma over Newcastle Saudi takeover after suffering for years

Hairy Bikers: Si King on their latest series 'Go North'

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley handed over the North East football club when it was bought by businesswoman Amanda Staveley and a consortium backed by the Saudi Arabian PiF. In a recent interview, north east local Si King was asked about the takeover and he admitted he’s happy for the club to finally spend money on players but feels a “moral dilemma” over supporting the move.

Speaking on Times Radio, Si was asked: “Are you a Newcastle fan?” and when he agreed, host Kait Borsay probed: “Tell me, obviously a Saudi backed company by hook or by crook has become the new owners of Newcastle United.

“Mike Ashley is gone which many fans are delighted about. Many fans delighted about this take over, they think you’re the next Chelsea, they’ve been out in the street with tea towels on their head believe it or not.”

“That’s so Newcastle, it’s hilarious,” Si replied.

Kait asked: “What do you make of it?”

“Well there’s a little bit of a moral dilemma in it for me,” Si replied.

“We’ve gone from one thing to something else entirely and the regime that has taken over out football club hasn’t got the best track record in civil rights.”

Kait cut in: “They would deny that it’s not connected to the Saudi regime and the Saudi regime and it’s a separate company and that’s why the Premier League has ratified the deal but that doesn’t satisfy you obviously.”

“No that doesn’t satisfy me,” Si answered.

“There’s no, look it will be great for the city because Newcastle United and St James Park is the city.”

Kait interrupted: “It is a cathedral isn’t it?”

“It is and you are right when you say cathedral and I don’t mean any disrespect but football in the north eats whether it be Newcastle or Sunderland, it’s a religion,” Si explained.

“We love it and it’s still based in our psyche an communities.

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“What frustrates me is we are constantly compromised about money and it’s a shame. It walk be great for the city and we may well be the next Chelsea because we have millions and millions and millions of pounds to spend.”

Kait asked: “Will it make you uncomfortable when these big signings start arriving and Newcastle start winning?”

“No I’ll be really happy about it,” Si answered. “We’ve all suffered for flipping years, it will be like, ‘Yes, get in!’

“But look, like I say, I can’t, you’ve asked me an honest question and I’m giving you an honest answer, that I have a big moral dilemma going on.

“Corporate organisations can distance themselves as and when they see fit. It’s about watching reputations I think.”

In the same interview, Si confirmed his co-star Dave Myers was “doing well” after falling ill with Covid

Si joked: “He is doing as well as can be expected, wrapped up at home eating soup, I don’t know if he can taste it or not.”

The Hairy Bikers Go North airs Thursday on BBC Two at 8pm.

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