THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Deadline Day – 25/Jan/15

by • January 25, 2015 • TBAWEComments (25)2647

Just before I sat down to type up this blather, I was of course delighted to receive my Lee-CharnleySunday morning e-mail from Newcastle United, letting me know about some of the fantastic new deals they have on tickets and their fantastic new merchandise. They were less forthcoming about what needs to be done to cancel season ticket direct debits and what the point is of supporting a club that is simply drifting.

It’s becoming a regular occurrence of mine now – I meet someone who I’ve only ever got to know from supporting United and/or running this fanzine and they let on quietly and sadly they are packing their season ticket in. They are rarely demonstrative. Just simply resigned, defeated and sad! They remind me of people who have given up on a personal relationship. After all of the fights, the emotions, the attempts to make it better they have simply decided, it’s not going to work and they need to bring it to an end. Cancelling a season ticket direct debit is the equivalent of splitting the record collection.

What the club might delude itself with is that these people will never stop supporting United and although their season tickets have gone, they will buy tickets on an individual match basis and still be there next season. They are completely wrong. Those cancelling season tickets are by and large ending their support for Newcastle United. They are losing their religion.

Those fans may return for the odd game, they might watch games down the pub but United should be under no illusions, those who are cancelling season ticket Direct Debits are ending their support of Newcastle United. This is no tiff. This is the marital home being sold, the keys being handed over to the estate agent.

Those who intend to cancel their season ticket Direct Debits, need to do it this week, before the 31/Jan/15 in order to incur no penalty or lose any money.

I can’t imagine any of you reading this who have been mulling over cancelling your season ticket Direct Debit were significantly persuaded from doing so following Managing Director Lee Charnley’s interview in The Chronicle last week. Rousing it was not. Visionary wasn’t a description I’d use. A rallying call to arms isn’t how it felt. No, Charnley’s weasel words confirmed what we already knew – Newcastle United for the second season running, is going to write off another season. It is going to disrespect every one of us in the stands. It is going to ignore the hardships some of us have to pay for our football. It is in essence squandering the money we have paid for season tickets. Why do they feel entitled to our money?

Last year Cabaye was sold without a replacement and this year the manager is yet to be replaced after a month. For Charnley, the club is happily out of the FA Cup after the atrocity at Leicester City and there are no players to be signed despite the crying and growing need for two central defenders, a creative central midfielder and at least one striker to be signed. Business that should have been completed over the last three windows! I still expect players to be sold and if United can get the money they want for Sissoko, I’m pretty confident he’ll be heading for Arsenal or PSG.

There is no grand plan and Charnley, hideously over-promoted as he is, is simply doing the bidding of Ashley, which is to run the club on a shoe-string, keep it in the Premier League for the TV money and so on and so forth. You’ve heard that and seen it written a million times. That’s how it is but whether season ticket holders are content to keep funding it remains to be seen. As a salesman, Charnley isn’t doing much to get bums on seats.


Last week we put two discussion subjects online and received a good response. One was us flying a little bit of a kite in honesty – is there an appetite for a rebel club? I had one or two private approaches expressing an interest and I’ll follow those up and see where they lead though I’ve no personal interest in founding or running a football club. My life commitments wouldn’t allow that and I don’t think I have the skill-sets anyway. To say the least.

The other discussion was to attempt to see if there is any realisation whatsoever amongst those who continually call for a boycott of season tickets that they will have to organise themselves correctly to make that happen. I’ll be honest, I’m bored stiff of being harangued by those who wish to see a boycott of tickets or of match-day protests when I see little action or organisation to that effect whilst at the same time, Newcastle United-related (including true faith’s) fan platforms crackle with anger and passion. Christ, we do online polemic brilliantly and I’m aware of the irony of me typing that too.

The simple fact of the matter is that our support lacks the gumption to get away from keyboards and to organise something that those who demand action say they want. They want somebody else to do it. I’ve read all kinds of ideas but little in the way of a plan to make any of them happen. Even when stuff is organised, far from mass numbers join with it. Marches are counted in their hundreds rather than in their thousands. Attendance at meetings, regardless of who is organising them is pitiful, embarrassing, no matter what day or time they are set up.

There is also an element of our support which is all too keen to put the knife into the backs of those who do want to do something, who cut no-one any slack and appear far more keen to turn their energies on fellow supporters rather than the real enemy. We’ve all winced at bad spellings on banners but those who have had visible protests have been nailed as the “bed-sheet brigade” and small numbers staging protests sneered at for their inability to draw bigger numbers. Someone doesn’t understand irony. I’ve even read the dress-sense of some marchers criticised as though to be active you have to be some uber-cool, clued-up terrace mannequin. It’s utterly depressing. I’ve no time for Wonga on our shirts but I’m not going to nit-pick a fellow supporter who is doing something positive if they are wearing one. We all have different levels of consciousness but I’ve also read sneers at those supporters from people who feel entitled to judge others before they have done a tap. We have a lot of people standing on the pavement when the march goes by, who should get over themselves and get on the back.

Anyway, was that my Gerald Ratner moment?

Keep On, Keepin’ On …


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25 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Deadline Day – 25/Jan/15

  1. joe hawkins says:

    Yes it is getting like that between the fans and has all the hallmarks of those who pack in the tabs then look down their nose at those who still do it !

  2. John Burn says:

    Hard to disagree with any of that, Michael. I’m still black and white through and whilst I’ve been through harder times watching this lot – there was always ‘hope’ that things would get better. The joy has been sucked out of supporting the football club and that bodes very well for the future. Not only is Ashley destroying the present, but he seems intent on making sure that the club will lose much of it’s support for decades to come, Why should my child support Newcastle United? To say that they are well run and post a profit every year? Not good enough. Instead, local kids will support Chelsea, Man United, Man City and Arsenal. It’s already happening.

    Dark days.

    • SteveP says:

      That’s just it though, we aren’t well run, we make money for Ashley and that’s it, nothing else.
      A well run club would do that AND have a modicum of sporting ambition and TRY to win trophies and qualify for Europe AND do well with what we have, be it the manager or players.
      By the way, I’m in no way having a go at you there, I agree with all you’ve said

  3. Ian Summers says:

    Lee Charnley had not “communicated” with us since last January and as he did last year he seems only intent on suppressing any deluded ideas we might invest during this transfer window. His depressing Ashley inspired mantra has at least helped make a decision with renewals of 10 year deal direct debits.

  4. Jarramag says:

    The Jarra-Ex used to take 2 bus loads to every match and all were dyed in the wool mags,but 99% of those fans have chucked their season tickets and the Ex takes no one to the match.Say 30 season ticket holders from one town have gone and i think it is a disgrace because these fans travelled the world with NUFC but not anymore.It must be the tip of the iceberg and the reason why Ashley has to offer reduced price season tickets.I wouldn’t like to guess how many hardcore have chucked it and NUFC should hang their heads in shame.

    • Marc Corby says:

      Never went with the Ex myself but yes, I remember pubs like the Jarrow’s Red Hackle, Prince of Wales as well as South Shields The Cyrpus and the unfortunatley named Lord Ashley having buses on…and this was when the capacity was 36k!!

      Therefore, who the hell are filling our seats these days??

  5. Ed Bell says:

    I gave up my season ticket in 2000 when Freddie and Sir John decided to turn my seat in the Milburn Stand into part of the Sports Bar / Platinum Club. I’d commuted to that seat from university in London during the 1991/92 to watch our near relegation to the Third Division.

    The current regime are without doubt the worst that we’ve ever had but never forget that the previous lot weren’t much better, regardless of the revisionist history that Freddie Shepherd is given free reign to spout in the Evening Chronicle…

  6. Shinton says:

    I’d never advocate not going to SJP as means to get back at Mike the Miser, lads have going for donkeys and it’s in their blood and always will be, but complete abstention is what it will take to get the rotund skid mark out of our club.

  7. David Chapman says:

    Lovely piece Michael, completely agree with leaving Newcastle United being like leaving a difficult relationship, personally I’m at the no longer giving a fuck what happens to them total apathy stage.
    I’m no longer even surprised at Ashley’s behaviour, he’s beyond contempt and as for that prick Charnley’s latest comments, well just go and read it, it’s like they are trying to suck any hope we have left out of us. Fuck them.

  8. Paul smith says:

    No it’s not your gerald ratner moment Michael because we ALL share your sheer frustration even the ones who do nothing about it. I’ve had conversTions with Ashley supporters but they are a tiny tiny minority and whilst the are those who are great nufc supporters who do sneer at protest I think the majority are just resigned. I think the issue is that no one has come up with a cunning plan. Nothing we can do easily that will really get up mike Ashley’s nose. How about having a competition on here to come up with a short song that will really piss him off that people can sing all game long to really get up his nose I’ll chuck £50 in for the best one ? Something with a bit of gallows humour works best and a message about his tatty shop wouldn’t hurt. I’m shit at this but something like ( to the tune of “he scores when he wants” ) “He sells tatty shite , Michael Ashley he sells tatty shite” .

    • mammyslittlesoldier says:

      It wouldn’t reflect well if a load of people in the crowd were wearing sports direct clobber

  9. Paul smith says:

    He would hate it you know. He wouldn’t be able to show it either coz we’d sing it all the more. At the very least it spoil his day out.

  10. Ant says:

    So, the results are in: £130m revenue, of which nearly £80m comes from TV and another £25m-odd from commercial deals.
    In this context, what fans want or do makes near-zilch difference. Whether people renew tickets or not is no longer relevant. If people don’t turn up, Ashley could offer £1 tickets for every school-child in the region to get the stadium full and he’d suffer pretty minimal loss of income (he will easily make up for the losses by selling Perez and Sissoko in the summer); and he’ll come out of this as “the good guy”.
    I have no idea where we go from here – seriously, a new Newcastle club may be the only way forward.

  11. Peter Shearer says:

    I agree with most of the article, but feel it is foolish to expect an individual to try and change things on their own. There have many people expressing their support for some kind of action, and if NUST and the associated partners and fan groups can agree a course of action, now it seems there is far more likelihood of proper support of those actions. If NUST cannot now grasp this opportunity (granted people will now need to show their support effectively) then it is time to accept that we as a fan base have been beaten by this capitalist slug. It really is time to “put up or shut up” but we need to be properly organised.

    If a large number of us met up before a home game to sing our views, I think more people will now join in, as the numbers are diluted once inside the stadium (plus many of us have boycotted). That would allow those who still attend the matches to show some solidarity with us, even if they continue to then watch the game. I am ready for action, but we need to ascertain that there is a least a decent number who will attend with us.

    Surely,judging by the number of people on this website (and trying to assess the views on other websites) there are enough people who will take action to try and win back our club. There may be things that people who are further afield can do to support us to,we just need to be imaginative as to how.

    Was anything agreed at the recent NUST AGM?

    • David Rutherford says:

      I intended to bring up the subject of protests and boycotts but it seemed utterly pointless as there were only about twenty people there.

  12. Marc Corby says:

    Great read as always Michael. I think the sadest part is that you haven’t mentioned one thing about the ‘thing’ that got us all hooked – the actual football and the matter of a game this weekend. Sign of the times….

    It appears to me that people have been brainwashed into believing that having a well ran club and ‘competing’ for 7th is the way forward.
    If you think differently to that you’re instantly reminded of how Shepherd nearly bankrupted us (fair enough) and under the current regieme we aren’t allowed to want to progress as ‘every other club can’t compete with the top 4/5/6 (sic)’.

    Right, so if supporting Newcastle United F.C is simply getting a semi-on over the balance sheets then for me football is officially over and the passion that we were always proud of has gone.

    Oh, and those trying to rub peoples faces in it over Pardew’s results at Palace need to have a word with themselves. The man took us nowhere in 4 years.

    What a very sad state of affairs.

  13. Ross Jones says:

    I see that Carver is due to be announced head coach until the end of the season. Wincing at the horrors the rest of the season holds for us.

  14. David Chapman says:

    Yeah, just seen the news Carver is in charge until the end of the season, Jesus Christ almighty! This is fat man’s biggest gamble so far, to presume we are already safe is unbelievable, we are 8 points from safety and I honestly believe we wont get many more under Carver because lets face it he’s fucking hopeless, not to mention the inevitable embarrassment when he hoy’s a radge at our own fans again.
    Just when you think things can’t get any worse…..

    • Ross Jones says:

      Completely agree David, expect Kinnear levels of insanity to ensue. With added poltergeist ex managers unfurling messages of support from above.

  15. Kenthemag says:

    Sincs Sky runs the show as far as the Premier League is concerned, something that hurts them or delays their schedules might work as a one off. How about next televised home game not taking your seat until after the kick off or not entering the ground until after kick off might get us some publicity?

    We really need a figurehead (Keegan / Shearer?) that would galvanise most / every supporter – maybe that would work in uniting the crowd?

  16. Tom Pitt says:

    Theyve gone for the gung-ho,glory all the way pick then!!
    I’m just amazed that they’ve announced it before the direct debit deadline.
    Yet another season written off before the end of January.
    They’re getting good at that!
    That is assuming we get enough points to survive.

  17. Dave Anderson says:

    Great article. The season ticket thing should be a big story. I also know of people who’ve ditched them, who are the last I expected. Maybe the bigger the fan the bigger the break. I’m also making a decision in a day or two. 22 years. For me, it won’t be about stopping supporting. I’ll still go to the odd away/cup (ha ha) game, and watch the rest on TV, as the day with my mates having a beer was always most of the fun anyway.

    I don’t think attendance boycotts work (although an impromptu empty ground would probably work quite well) The TV and sponsorship money dwarf the gate receipts, and the price would simply come down if attendances started to suffer. I think marches work reasonably well if they’re well attended, for the embarrassment/publicity factor. The club certainly weren’t happy with the publicity last time.

    Lastly, I do think fans should be allowed to deal with this mess in whatever way they see fit, whether that’s not going, or holding up a banner. Without divisions. Surely we’ve all earned that right.

  18. John says:

    I think most of Newcastle’s support can put up with mediocrity (1980-81 brings back dark memories). But when mediocrity becomes the objective / raison d’être of the club, it’s time for something to be done. I’ve been on marches and the turnout is often depressing and one reason is that many of the people who might be interested don’t know they’re being staged. A welcome starting point for me would be the creation of a dedicated website for protest. I didn’t call for Pardew’s head because I thought he was permanently hamstrung by the club (the decline after Cabaye left was totally predictable as he made the whole thing work) but I was pretty impressed with It was well put together and received national attention. The creation of (or something similar) by those with the requisite skills would be a very useful rallying place for those minded to organize or join in protests. I think it would also get more donations. Maybe protests would only go ahead if 500 like-minded souls signed up for it on the website (otherwise it could be dismissed as a waste of time). It could be worthwhile to have a page of signatories (to include length of ‘service’ and/or personal statements) for those who have packed in season tickets under Mike Ashley to get some quantifiable information. Links to news stories highlighting Mike Ashley’s (alleged) use of third world sweat shops to fabricate his tatty goods could be highlighted as well. Any protest banner could highlight the website to generate more visibility / negative publicity for Ashley. You get the idea……..

  19. john rush says:

    You have nailed on part of the reason why I have not given up my season ticket yet. If I do I fear I won’t be back even if Ashley goes. I saw the same in the seventies with my Dad and Uncle after relegation in 78. Regulars since the fifties they swore they would be back once the club showed ambition, four years later when the club did so and signed Kevin Keegan they didn’t come back and apart from the odd game never returned. Another reason is if I go then I will be replaced in all probability by someone happy to be here for the super soaraway Sky EPL experience rather than having any real passion for NUFC. Leaving the Southampton game sick as a chip I was taken by the number of supporters who didn’t seem bothered about the fact we had lost again. Some supporters were laughing, another couple were talking about the menu at a restaurant, others expressing their admiration for Southampton and discussing what was the live game the next day. The North East accents around the ground are a lot less harsh than they used to be a few years ago. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that as supporting Newcastle should not be a closed shop, but my feeling is that those who have given their season tickets up are the old hardcore and the new breed who are replacing them are a lot less likely to join in with any anti Ashley boycott/protest as they are just happy to be at the game watching Premier League football which Ashley provides. That’s not to say we should not give up trying to remove the present regime it may just be one reason why there appears to be a lack of appetite for the fight around the ground

  20. Paul Clayton says:

    A new Newcastle club is the ONLY way we can have any pride in our football.
    NUFC is completely fucked for the forseeable future with these toerags running it.
    Its a shame Blue Star went bust,,,,,maybe there’s some milage in reforming that club?
    Imagine the satisfaction of having a club owned by the fans with a board and manager voted in or out climbing the leagues.
    It’s a dream that can work just look at AFC Wimbledon.
    I know its just another pipedream at the minute but maybe there are some of us who have the business savvy and the tie to get something like this up and running?