We Are Newcastle United

We Are Newcastle United

A docuseries that’s way more invested in the business that runs Newcastle United, rather than the club itself


TV Show

United Kingdom
Arabic, English
Alan Shearer, Amanda Staveley, Callum Wilson

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If you told me this documentary was sponsored by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, I’d believe you.

What it's about

This four-part documentary by Amazon Prime follows Newcastle United throughout the 2022-2023 season, which sees them rise through the ranks after being purchased by the wealthiest football owners in the world.

The take

 If you’re expecting a story about sportsmanship, athleticism, camaraderie, and community, you won’t get a lot of that in We Are Newcastle United, a docuseries that is more interested in business than in football. It begins with the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s takeover of the club, reportedly the most expensive purchase in the football world, and firmly stays in that angle throughout the series. Never mind that Newcastle United has a formidable set of players, a loyal community of fans, and one of the most inspiring underdog journeys in football history—the documentary only touches on those rich topics. Instead, its main focus is the PIF and the technical details of their ownership. How much did they spend to secure the top players? What does the Saudi state hope to gain out of this acquisition? Is Newcastle United complicit in Saudi Arabia’s alleged breach of human rights? We Are Newcastle United has some insightful takes, but for the filmmakers to bill it as a sports feature feels like false advertising. Like the club’s owners, they put financials first before football, not the other way around. 

What stands out

The best moments in the series are those that hone in on the game itself, those that focus on the final moments of a neck-to-neck match to deliver either a glorious goal or a devastating loss. It’s during these times you get a glimpse of what the docuseries could be: a celebration of the sport itself and how interlocked it is to communal pride. One unfortunate effect of emphasizing the wealth of Newcastle United is that their success gets chalked up to money, to their purchasing power, instead of commitment, hard work, and the boost they get from fans. At one point, co-owner Amanda Staveley says that for every win, “the fans are the most important thing.” I find that hard to believe. After all the trouble Staveley went through to purchase the team, it’s clear that a return on investment is what really matters most. 

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