true faith : DISCUSSION DAY #2

by • January 20, 2015 • NewsComments (35)3252

Do Newcastle United supporters have any leverage at all with Mike Ashley? Have we any SJPnewpower whatsoever to remove Ashley or even persuade him to sell?

Are those who call for a mass boycott of matches deluding themselves? Or have they got the only answer?

Could any group of fans – be that fanzines, NUST or a dedicated campaign group deliver a meaningful boycott?

Remember thus far, the Newcastle United support has singularly failed to respond to any call for action – supporters public meetings have been very poorly attended, organised marches have failed to galvanise support and even the organised walk-out last season v. Cardiff delivered less than 7000 of a 50,000 attendance. Even some of my best friends who detest Ashley, didn’t leave their seats and they can’t explain to me why they didn’t join the walk-out. That’s what we’re dealing with.

The least said about The Chronicle’s effort for a mass hold up of their front page at the Chelsea game last season, the better.

Is Newcastle United’s support lazy, apathetic and has it lost its solidarity, its sense of purpose? Has it lost its pride? Is it just another sanitised support? Just a little bit bigger than the average? Is the passion just all phony?

But go back to the days of the United Supporters For Change in the late 80s, when United were far more reliant upon gate money than they are now and there was still a failure to deliver a mass boycott of games. What’s changed?

If any group of fans organised themselves into  a campaign group, would they attract widespread support or would B&W social media crackle with savage criticism of them? Why would any supporter put themselves through the ordeal of being slaughtered by their fellow fans?

Even if our support could organise itself in such a way, would it matter? Would it work? Gate money is a less important part of Newcastle United’s income than it has ever been before and it is becoming increasingly less important to those running Newcastle United. Ashley ignores us and the club treats us with ill-disguised contempt, because it can afford to.

Thousands have already chucked season tickets and Ashley’s response has been to find new supporters to mark down the tickets to. That includes the Family Enclosure on the top deck of the Milburn (which didn’t exist ten years ago and can only exist because there is space vacated by disaffected fans). The many thousands who have walked away from United haven’t had any impact at all. No offence to anyone in the Family Enclosure by the way.

With a new TV deal on the way, likely to bring yet more money into Newcastle United, why would Ashley be arsed about losing a few thousand malcontent fans who he has reviled for years anyway?

Would swathes of empty seats really bother Ashley so much he’d sell the club?

And who would he sell the club to? A nicer billionaire than he is?

Aston Villa fans have deserted Villa Park in their thousands, utterly disillusioned by Randy Lerner’s running of their club. Lerner is still there. Lerner hasn’t moved.

Does a packed St James’ Park not mean United is a more attractive option to a buyer than a one which has been deserted?

More importantly, who would organise this boycott? Is that a job you would like to give to someone else and watch from afar, occasionally taking to cyberspace to slag them off if they didn’t do exactly what you wanted at exactly the right time? That is the predisposition of a large swathe of our support – stand on the sidelines, slagging those who try something.

Are you er (ahem) more of an ideas Mag rather than one of the workers, who actually get off their arses and do something, however small?

Are you a supporter who stands on the pavement when the protest march goes by because you would rather have a pre-match pint than join the back?

A boycott?

Can it be delivered?

Who would organise it?

Would it work?

What action are you going to do?

Are you going to a lot rather than a bit?

Over to you – ALL COMMENTS in the boxes below. Ta. TF_INITIALS_LOGO


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35 Responses to true faith : DISCUSSION DAY #2

  1. Alex says:

    mass organised boycott for a televised game, humiliate him and take his massive (understatement) ego down a few noches on live TV

  2. paul smeeton says:

    boycotts and complaining wont work – Ashley isn’t bothered and fans still want to support the team.
    what is needed is a serious and imaginative campaign which takes the piss out of him and makes him a laughing stock

  3. Chris Nappin says:

    Kidnap him and sell him to the Islamic State

  4. Chris Nappin says:

    Use the profit to buy the club/extra pints before the game

  5. Jon says:

    If fans could somehow delay kick off on a televised game or games then surely sky would have something to say for disrupting their schedule.

    Big if though.

    • That’s what I’ve always thought would be a great idea. Everyone gather outside the ground, Milburn reception, but don’t go in. With no one in the ground they would have to delay kick-off so you wouldn’t miss the match anyway. It would be a great way to get protests heard and seen by Ashley and a national audience.

  6. Paul Luckley says:

    A mass boycott would free up more advertising space, the games go live all around the world…. promoting his tacky brand as it goes

  7. Simon says:

    I would support the idea of a boycott, but with the influx of TV money, match day receipts are an ever decreasing slice if the pie. The club doesn’t really need the fans to make money, though of course it helps. My honest feeling is that a boycott would ultimately be ineffective due to poor participation and Ashley lowering prices further to fill the empty seats.

  8. lilo_g says:

    Ashley is stubborn, obstinate, odious, and plenty more on top of that which I’m sure will be mentioned once or twice on here. However, the ticket sales is small fry to him, as is advertising hence him using it for his own purposes. Even without ticket sales we are likely to ,at very minimum, have broken even last year. They will likely show a profit, but compared to the money Ashley makes elsewhere, it is hardly worth him getting out of bed. Ashley is looking at £117 million for just 3% of his SD shares, if he was to take all profits out of Newcastle it would take another 2 years to get to that at current levels.

    Protests, boycotts, what effect will this have on him? Minimal, he may well become more willing to sell, but it won’t change anything else. It won’t change the lack of buyers. It won’t change the amount he wants for the club. It may well lead to job cuts for many of the Joe public staff though, or increased player sales. However a boycott is formed, Ashley has said he won’t put more money in, so the club will cut its cloth further to reflect the decrease in income.

    Ashley will go when he feels he is the winner from any deal, not when he feels he is being forced. It will take a fans group that can unite all fans and put egos to one side. It will probably take the influence of ‘celebrity’ or high profile business leaders who support Newcastle to be involved. In the past there were people with Newcastle at heart in position and with the backing to come in. It wouldn’t appear to be the case now, so we need high profile people to open doors, and the fans to be able to sell the club, the city and themselves to any potential buyer once these doors are opened.

    There needs to be a buyer willing to meet Ashley head on with an offer that Ashley thinks is a good deal for him. I think he would sell now if there was that option, but there isn’t.

    • Gav C says:

      Have to agree with much of what Lilo_G says here, he’s going nowhere unless it’s on his terms unfortunately… Until then we’ve got zero to look forward to or get excited about. Breaks my heart but NUFC is a joyless Zombie Football Club that’s the antithesis of sporting endeavour.

  9. I don’t care what the protest is, be it mass and organized or individual with your “bedsheets”, I congratulate anyone who is prepared to try. The alternative of sneering ridicule is utterly stomach churning. He doesn’t like protest, his reaction to it last season is the best clue he could give. If then police and council had to close roads in the city for organized marches, I’m convinced he’d start feeling the pressure. Would it work ? Who knows but its better than doing nowt or sneering at peoples efforts.

    • Gav C says:

      I would never sneer or take the piss of anyone or anything that they tried to do to rid NUFC of the Cancer that is Mike Ashley’s ownership. They are to be commended on their passion and commitment to try. Unfortunately for me personally I just can’t see him being affected by anything that’s been suggested/attempted so far. His pockets are just too deep and his only motive seems to be to increase his pile even more, read the other day the top 1% of global rich will own more than the remaining 99% combined, a problem much wider than football…

  10. Tom Bates says:

    Anyone who is attending are supporting Ashleys runnning of the club whether they admit it or not. Supporting the team not the regime isnt possible if you are buying tikets and attending regardless.If you didnt like a restaurant or a pub you wouldnt pay your money but as ‘paying customers’ you are saying you are happy with the service. Unfortunatley people dont seem to care enough to stop going even to a one off game as a protest. From conversations I’m hearing fans are believing the media in that we cant compete with the top 6 and that we should be happy with top ten. Dampening of expectations by Ashley and Pardew has worked. If people are happy with the state of affairs which is midtable mediocrity but no ambition beyond that keep going. Some people just want to watch a game of football and arent interested in the politics.There are 3 competiitons, potentially 4 with Europe but only the league seems to matter now.
    I noticed the organised protest by Villa fans last week v Liverpool had a poor response as well. There are a number of people who complain about Ashleys running of the club and threaten to stop their season ticket but then change their mind after one win.

  11. John says:

    The Tyneside area seems awash with crystal balls at present. How anyone can seriously sit there with the attitude that it’s not worth it & literally predict the future without actually trying any kind of affirmative action is beyond me!!!! IMO, the ugly truth is that this is merely an excuse so individuals do not have to 1) DO anything, 2) Alter their own match-day routines & 3) come to terms with the fact they have to turn their backs on NUFC in order to help proceedings. We simply don’t know how Ashley will react; we have never tried a well-supported boycott. If a lot of fan’s mindsets do not change, we simply never will either. Ever wonder why it was US he chose to be bleed dry?! Was it the club, it’s history & status or the blind loyalty & unwavering financial backing of a large proportion of it’s fans that attracted his attention? No brainer.

  12. Steven Mitchell says:

    This idea that sky give a shit about how many people are at a football ground is ludicrous. Villa have no one there but the sky cameras will no doubt be at villa park the next time ‘United’ come to town. I genuinely can’t see anything we can do that will remove Ashley. As sick as it is a couple of relagations would be our best bet. Keep carver in charge and that may happen….

    • Pat Hughes says:

      I’m not going to renew and that will hurt after 27(ish) years but I’ll still love the club, the real club that is. Still up for some protesting though. I did notice today a rival sports shop are refurbishing their store in Northumberland St. It would be kind to give them a bit of publicity at a televised match, deviously.

      • Rob says:

        Is that not a JD sports? Another company I think Ashley has shares in…

        • Pat Hughes says:

          Is there nothing he doesn’t have an interest in (apart from us) – I thought JD were owned by the Pentland Group. Another strategy it is then because I really want to do something otherwise my sanity is lost.

    • Graeme says:

      So go on, what do you suggest?
      Do you think he’d allow the club to be relegated twice?
      He’s just sold 2.5% of his 57.5% shareholding in Sports Direct for £117m and he wasn’t exactly scratching his backside before. If he needs to he’ll just dip in to his pocket, add to the loan and use it to buy some players as a last resort.
      As others have said, he’ll go when he’s ready and not before, but to lie down and take what’s being done, without even trying anything is just as bad.
      A one match boycott of the next home game televised on Sky would send a strong message, whilst still allowing almost everyone to see the game.

  13. Ross Jones says:

    I really don’t buy this relegation patter at all. Making the club financially less lucrative to a prospected new owner would only hinder the efforts of shifting Ashley. I agree with the sentiments that it is stomach churning to watch people ridicule the poor turnout of the aforementioned efforts. As supporters we are as divided now as I have seen in my time as a supporter. Before anything can happen we need unity amongst the support but how we go about achieving this is the real question which needs to be adressed. I am in total agreement with the weekly podcast that it seems the vast majority of supporters on social media can’t debate anything anymore without resulting to name calling and pointless squabbling. United we stand, divided we fall

    • rich says:

      I agree Ross, we have already been down the relegation road, and what happened? The club is worth a hell of a lot less meaning Ashley must sell at a significant loss, can’t see that happening…

  14. Completely agree with john earlier, how can anyone predict what will happen if people organize various protests ?
    ” Waste of time”
    ” Embarrassing”
    These seem to be the default settings of the vast majority of nufc fans when ideas are put forward. I’m pleased there was no social media back in the days of protests against mckeag, by fuck I do.

  15. Dave says:

    Most of our fans havent got the stomach for the battle. The bedsheets are crap but we did it a few years ago and got pictures in the national press and it definitely p*****d Ashley off. You could tell that by the stewards giving us grief. Every little thing like that helps. I applaud anyone who tries anything rather than those who just bend over and take it. The excuse is “I just want to support the team”..fair enough but you are just supporting the team to finish 14th each season and go out of the cups as soon as possible. If I was a pro footballer it wouldnt really bother me if some knob in the crowd was giving ashley abuse or holding up a bed sheet or protesting I would just make the next pass or shoot etc etc. I am no militant but you have to stand up for what you believe….THE STRAWBERRY CORNER.

  16. Andy Hall says:

    Depressing though this might sound the only way there will be regime change at NUFC is relegation and a more than one season stint in the lower leagues. The only two things that register in Mike Ashley’s brain seems to be money and pissing people off. The premier league is awash with money and as long as we’re in it Ashley has no cause for concern. Boycotting will have very little effect, one the fans could’nt organise it, efforts have failed before, secondly the gate money loss would probably be relatively small.
    Relegation would be the only real financial hit to Ashley and in my opinion the only realistic way of getting rid of him. If that was the only way to get rid of him I would take it tomorrow as the club’s heart and soul and everything it stands for and means to its followers is dying under this man’s control,

  17. Paul Clayton says:

    Start a new club along the lines of AFC Wimbledon or FC United of Manchester as this buffoon isn’t listening and couldnt give a toss wether there are 50,000 there or 20,000 , its TV money he’s after.NUFC is a footballing joke and blind loyallty is part of the problem,

  18. Peter Shearer says:

    I think there are enough people who want to make a stand. Others may join protests once they see it build.To my mind, we do not even need to consider anything else,other than to make sure the protests are properly organised and communicated using all the support groups who will unite. The fact that there will be dissenters should not deter us.Wherever it leads cannot be worse than where we currently are. I think Ashley has more weaknesses than people think in the makeup of his personality.

    I agree again that in protesting the anger should not be against our fellow supporters but aimed entirely at Ashley.

  19. Paul Clayton says:

    Because Manwithout a name or whatever you go by ,gate reciepts pale in significance to the vast sums he recieves in TV money/free advertising/player sales etc etc.You need to wake up mate he’s taking the piss out of you and this whole region.I personaaly made a decision to stop going about two years ago because I was sick of the feeling of being taken for granted and having my pants pulled down whilst being fleeced,but 50,000 are happy to continue to go which is there decision also
    To do nothing is your perogative, its a free country

  20. rich says:

    I believe adverse publicity towards SD could force his hand. He would be put under pressure by the other shareholder in SD to do something if placards, chants anti SD ditties etc were used to in a negative manner towards the SD brand.

  21. Mick says:

    When will people realise most of the true fans have now give up the ghost, whose left to boycott? Those cunts in their wonga shirts wouldn’t stop drinking Ashley beer at half time never mind miss a match. So please let’s stop kidding yourselves Ashley has won, the only thing we have left is our self respect and that is only regained by walking away.

    • David Chapman says:

      Couldn’t agree more mate, the wonga brigade deserve everything they get. Financially supporting this current regime is completely unforgivable.

  22. Paoulo says:

    Err why does a boycott need to be ‘organised’ it’s not complicated just don’t buy tickets, did you get that guys? Don’t buy tickets, sorted I walked out last season on 69 minutes and haven’t been back since. The fcb takes a couple of million per game, if it starts costing him a couple of million per game he will take notice. It’s all about power and wealth creation for him,obey is his God, stop feeding him.

  23. Peter says:

    Some sort of protest outside Sports Direct shops across the city and wider Northeast, if coordinated and picked up by the media, might be the most effective thing to do.

  24. Ed says:

    Which is the final ‘Enough is Enough’ event which will stop people going to the game? Ashely has thrown any number at us (you can make your own list)
    If you are still going even after all that has and hasn’t happened in the 10 largely joyless years on the pitch and in the stands since SBR, then admit it – you always will.

    • Alan says:

      Incredible isn’t it?
      Imagine you stroll down to your local, the pub you’ve been drinking in since your teens.
      When you get there you find it’s under new ownership and he’s changed its name to the Kiddie Fiddler.
      He’s redecorated the inside from floor to ceiling in tacky, gaudy shite.
      The friendly bar staff have left, replaced by cunts who lie through their teeth to you and short change you at every opportunity.
      The doormen are loan sharks.
      All the good beer has gone and only the insipid piss is left.
      The pool table and the dartboard have been taken out because they’re not a priority.
      He has no intention of ever running it in any other way than how it is now and treats you with utter contempt.
      His only interest in you at all is your money.
      Would you carry on drinking there because it looks the same from the outside?

      Would you fuck.