Newcastle United have definitely experienced a surge in popularity in Asia since the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund took over the club last year. Even though that takeover had its share of controversy, the Magpies faithful loved it in Newcastle.
Last year, a lot of match-going fans attended games by wearing a keffiyeh on top of their heads to pay homage to the Sheikh that bought their club.
Despite talks of ‘sportswashing’, the fans definitely didn’t care and the Saudi owners have definitely helped them take major strides forward over the last year.
The Magpies were lying in a relegation battle when the Saudi owners took over.
Fast forward to 2023 and they are in the Premier League top-4 race and have a chance to fight for the Carabao Cup on Sunday against Manchester.
Winning that trophy will put an end to a nearly six-decade-long wait for an English cup title win.
As Eddie Howe’s team prepares for that massive game at the weekend, something rather bizarre has been discovered in a completely different part of the world about Newcastle.
It appears as if the popularity surge was not just limited to Saudi Arabia itself. In a rather recent discovery, one Newcastle fan posted a picture of a mural of Newcastle defender Fabian Schar that has been drawn in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand.
A mural is a wall painting/graffiti that is often made to pay homage to or celebrate the achievements of someone. In England, tons of Marcus Rashford murals were created after he helped feed millions of children during the peak of Covid-19.
This mural of Schar must’ve been drawn by an expert because it is really well done. His appearance is perfectly emulated in this one, as well as the Newcastle United home kit. Moreover, the words ‘LIVE YOUR DREAM’ is also written in the mural that is bang on in central Bangkok.
Smack bang in the middle of Bangkok 😂 pic.twitter.com/UehihE1HmK— Martin (@megamarvatron) February 23, 2023
While fans can expect to see murals of Newcastle players in the city of Newcastle or perhaps other parts of England, a mural of Schar somewhere like Thailand has confused some fans.
However, the reality of the situation might come as a surprise. The Magpies actually have a devoted fanbase in Thailand – including the Newcastle United Thailand Supporters Club.
This fan group has over 16,000 followers on Facebook, indicating that there is actually a strong core of Newcastle fans in Thailand. The fandom for the Magpies actually started to soar in the early 2000s and the start of the 21st century.
In 2004, Newcastle United travelled to Thailand to face the national team of Thailand in a friendly game in front of over 40,000 fans at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
The match featured the likes of Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and James Milner. Lee Bowyer even scored in it. Thailand actually won that game on penalties and it seems like the Thai people have found a liking for the club since.
In 2009, the then-Prime Minister of Thailand – Abhisit Vejjajiva – promised to keep supporting Newcastle even after they got relegated from the Premier League. They have retained a pretty strong fan group since then and brought a lot of joy to those fans with their heroics across this season.
While teams like Manchester United, Liverpool or Barcelona definitely have a bigger fanbase in Thailand than Newcastle – the Magpies and Schar can be glad that they have die-hard supporters all across in another continent who are passionate enough to imprint him into their walls with a beautiful mural.