The Reserve Squad: God To Buy Newcastle United

In keeping with a recent trend that has seen several English clubs snatched up by mega-rich foreign owners, the Lord our God has announced that he has launched a successful bid to gain a controlling stake in beleaguered Newcastle United FC. The Magpies have struggled this season, their four points from five matches putting them second from the bottom and facing relegation. And the crisis hasn’t been limited to the pitch; much-loved manager Kevin Keegan has been controversially sacked, inciting angry demonstrations from supporters that have led to owner Mike Ashley’s decision to sell up.

Speculation that Newcastle’s massive debts and recent lack of form might scare off potential buyers appear to have been unfounded in the case of The Almighty, who, it is thought, is prepared to banish from existence the very concept of reckless fiscal management, throwing the world’s economy into disarray, if only to improve fortunes on Tyneside. Such powerful financial weapons are not in the arsenal of Indian business tycoon Anil Ambani, who had previously been hailed as the leading candidate to lock up the purchase of the club. Ambani has since backed away from making a formal proposal, citing a deep reluctance to incite a bidding war with The Heavenly Creator

Having secured an agreement-in-principle to take over the Magpies, The Lord Our Father is now subject to the FA’s fit-and-proper test. Speaking through his representative, the Archangel Gabriel, God has played down reports that his spotty record – critics have pointed to the unabated existence of war, famine, disease and Sepp Blatter as evidence of continued negligence on the part of The One – may preclude a simple rubber stamp from the FA. “I welcome the FA’s most thorough examination,” the Supreme Being said in a statement read to reporters. “Apart from the meaning of life and deepest mysteries of all creation, I have nothing to hide.”

Aside from the obvious and earth-shattering religious implications of the sale, the deal highlights a trend in English football that has seen supremely wealthy foreigners purchasing English clubs, each newly-acquired team outstripping out the last for the title of “richest club in the world.” After Roman Abramovitch’s acquisition of Chelsea in 2003, and the 2007 sale of Queen’s Park Rangers – in part to Renault’s F1 boss, Flavio Briatore – the current season has been rife with discussion of the shock sale of Manchester City to an Abu Dhabi-based consortium of investors. The recent moves at Eastlands have been punctuated by claims from the new owners that they are seeking, in effect, to use their financial clout to purchase many of the world’s best players. Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, Man U’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon, in particular, appear to be on City’s wish list, despite being locked into multi-year contracts.

Asked about how he will use his literally infinite supply of funds, Jehovah played his cards close to the chest, saying only that he intends to “build a team from the ground up, but [isn’t] afraid to invest the right players.” He added “Let’s just say this, if I want to buy Cristiano Ronaldo, Alex Ferguson is going to sell him. Period.” Our Lord also refused to rule out fashioning genetically perfect centre-halfs out of marble and sheer divine will. Such bravado may excite Toon supporters, even as it lends credence to long-standing claims that money, if not divine omnipotence, has tainted football.

His Most Serene Perfection has sought to preempt such criticism, it seems, taking inspiration from the common-touch that once endeared Mike Ashley to the Newcastle faithful: His Divinity has declared that he intends to uphold the previous owner’s habit of attending each game clad in Newcastle’s black-and-white kit, shunning the comfort owner’s box for the enthusiasm of the terraces.

“Just wait for the first home match,” he said, “then we’ll see who can chug a beer.”


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