WOULD you still celebrate a cup final win for your team if you knew for absolute certain the game had been rigged?

Let’s say that you support a small club, one for whom trophies don’t come around often or, in your own lifetime, at all, and yet on a glorious sunny Hampden day, the provincial club your family has always followed somehow beats one of the big guys.

But things are not what they seem.

Someone in the know whispers later that night that the referee was paid off. This explains the dodgy penalty, how quick he was to show a second yellow to their star midfielder, the decision to award a soft free kick which led to the killer goal.

Do you put down the pint and head home, burdened with the knowledge it had all been a charade?

Or would it be a case of ‘sod it’ and order up more drink because this day is your team’s day, a day you thought would never come, a day you deserve for all those 2-0 home defeats to Morton and Falkirk.

And, anyway, they are all at it. Nice guys never win.

Given the chance, would you put food poison in the opposition’s pre-match meal if you were almost 100 per cent sure you would get away with it. If you had the means, would you pay off the officials. Would you bribe their top goalscorer who you know to have gambling problems?

How far would you go for your club? What morals would you cast to one side? What truths would you ignore?

Given the chance, would you allow an appalling regime own your club if it meant maybe winning a cup?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is not for everyone, what with the beheadings, torture, lack many of basic human rights for many of its citizens based on their sexuality and sex, and the murder of so many including journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s grisly death.

Oh, and the Saudi lead the military coalition in Yemen. Amnesty International have been vocal and consistent in their criticism of the invading forced launching “indiscriminate attacks on homes and hospitals.”

However, they do have a lot of money. More than just about anyone else and now £300million of the royal family’s wealth is to be spent on acquiring Newcastle United.

They haven’t won a major honour since 1969 – the old Fairs Cup – the last domestic triumph the 1955 FA Cup final of which one survivor remains of the team. It’s been 21 years and counting since their last cup final.

Newcastle’s glory days were the early 1900s when three First Division titles were won within five years of each other. The last great winning team brought the title to Tyneside in 1927 thanks in no small part to the goals of Hughie Gallacher.

This is not a traditionally successful football club. This is not a big football club. Big clubs win things. They don’t go so long without league titles. Kevin Keegan came close, as did Sir Bobby Robson, but even these icons of St James’s Park fell short.

And then came Mike Ashley and so many broken promises. They had him for 13 years, a terrible owner who made terrible mistakes. They wanted him out and they have almost got their greatest wish.

Now Newcastle can, potentially, become that big club they always claimed to be. A new owner who ran the club frugally, with some football people working there, would find it easy to improve just by being normal.

But with owners with pockets as deep as not deeper than those who control Manchester City and, yes, Paris St Germain, Newcastle United that “wee club in the North East that never wins anything” (so said Sir Alex Ferguson), can become big players in European football given a bit of time.

And most Newcastle supporters are okay with that. Some have reservations but most are happy to be owned by the Saudis, many of whom have written pro-Saudi regime pieces and even criticised the fiancée or murdered journalist Jamal Khashogg on her own Twitter account.

Quite right. Why does she get a say when there is a decent run in the League Cup up for stake?

The people of Newcastle are amazing but it does appear they are now happy with anyone owning the club if there is a chance of some decent players being signed. They once famously asked not for a club that won but one that tried. Obviously that was a lie. They are so desperate for a cup they would give literally anyone they front door keys.

Newcastle might become a big club but they won’t become popular, they will never be loved. Not anymore. I used to say the Geordies love their club because it represented their city, their region. They could hardly be called glory hunters. Well, they are now.

I certainly will not celebrate any future Newcastle United success. Some things, for me at least, are worth more than money tainted with so much with is wrong with the world. At least when a bribe is offered and accepted, nobody loses their head.