Depending on who and what you read Newcastle United’s season ticket sales have collapsed by between 25, 35 or even 40% in some parts of St James’ Park. That isn’t me being the hand-wringing misery you have come to know and er, love rather it’s based upon informed calculation from information gleaned from the club itself. So, it’s happened then. Those who for years have told you and me they were going to chuck it have done so.
Those who accuse me and those like me of negativity in matters of Newcastle United can now join Moncur and Co. in attempting to persuade those fellow Mags who have walked that they should come back. For many, this isn’t any longer a decision about leaving, that’s happened, now it’s about lost supporters returning.
We all know supporters who have walked away. Good, loyal Black & Whiters with a deep and loyal love for the club who have become sickened by a lack of investment, lies, broken promises, selling any player who looks half decent and failing to replace them, Wonga on the shirt, the Sports Direct Arena and players with no pride in pulling on Newcastle United colours. Steve McClaren has walked into a shit-storm that may for a large swathe of the club’s match-going public have simply passed the point of no return. It’s not his fault of course but he is looking increasingly incapable of being to do anything about it.
The club now appears to be in something of a downward spiral with its public. Last season came the realisation that quite possibly having a season ticket, paid for in advance is possibly the most expensive way to watch our club when the traditional deal for as long as I can remember is that an up-front commitment was supposed to generate a value, a commitment bonus if you like. Not at Newcastle United. This is one fucked up football club.
For those of us who continue to oppose Ashley and who want him to remove himself from the club this isn’t a time for celebration at the support finally turning away in the massive numbers many have hoped for over an extended period. Personally, I’m saddened it has come to this. Not saddened actually, wholly depressed that the light of our great city and region has been dimmed by the charlatans in the boardroom, in the dugout and on the pitch. After all of the trials, tribulations, disappointments that have tested us down the years the stoicism that has been the USP of our support has gone. That indefatigable Geordie optimism has been worn down by eight years of Ashley’s perverse approach to running our club. It’s a time for mourning not celebration.
It’s going to be the Fans Forum next week. This is the one that was promised would be pulled forward during the season but never was. I know, I wasn’t surprised either! This is the one where a public demand by someone presuming to represent the Fans Forum demanded the attendance of Mike Ashley. Good luck with that.
Here are a few thoughts.
If Ashley does not attend and instead sends his powerless, over-promoted troupe from the “board of directors”, I suggest supporters end the farce of this circus and walk out.
If they do as I entirely expect persist with the charade of this Fans Forum then I suggest that rather than be cowed into inertia, those with permanent seats (How? Why?) start behaving like a proper fans representative body and at least publish their own account of the meetings rather than allow the club to stage manage the whole thing. I won’t hold my breath on that one.
Here are a few questions however:
Why did Newcastle United pay Sports Direct £3.4m as detailed here
Does Newcastle United have a similar arrangement with Sports Direct via NUFCDirect that Rangers do where it is reported only 7% of monies spent on the Ibrox club’s merchandise actually goes to the club?
How much did Newcastle United make from the sale on a lease of land at the Gallowgate End and in which Lee Charnley played a key role?
The Premier League has made a commitment for its clubs to pay its employees and those via its contractors the Living Wage – how many of the club’s directly employed staff (full and part time) now receives the Living Wage? How many employees of the club’s contracted out services are paid the Living Wage?
Why are the club’s running costs increasing year on year as detailed within the club’s accounts?
When will Newcastle United replace John Irving (Finance Director) and other departed finance personnel?
How much does Newcastle United now owe Mike Ashley?
Who was responsible for appointing John Carver as Head coach from January to May 2015?
What is Bob Moncur’s area of expertise on the Newcastle United “board of directors”?
Who took the decision to inform Ryan Taylor and Jonas Guitteraz they would not be offered new contracts in the manner they were?
Where in the process of purchases and sales is Mike Ashley consulted?
In 2013 then Director Football Joe Kinnear revealed plans for new investment in the Academy facilities at Benton. He outlined work would statr in May 2015. It hasn’t. Planning permission was only applied for in Autumn 2014. Why is the development delayed? When will work start? When will it be completed?
Why was The Mirror the only newspaper invited to the Steve McClaren opening conference at St James’ Park?
Has the club estimated the damage to its brand of its continuing poor relations with the football press?
What does the club calculate the financial advantage of buying a season ticket rather than obtaining tickets match-by-match?
How many season ticket holders who bought tickets for the 2014/15 season have failed to renew for the 2015/16 season?
How many season tickets did Newcastle United have in the 2007/08 season?
How many does it have now?
Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Although it seems that Cathro has been offered to some kind of coaching job at United this hasn’t been confirmed and with the players expected back for pre-season training next week, a full coaching team has yet to be appointed. I expect (hope) that will be resolved this week but with nothing happening with incoming transfers and a mountain of preparation to do before the season kicks off in just over a month’s time there is an understandable lack of enthusiasm for the new season to put it mildly. The whole club is in a bad place, on and off the park. It can’t go on.
See you at Gateshead a week Friday though.
Have a great week.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …