true faith : PARISH NOTICES (Updated)

by • February 24, 2015 • NewsComments (12)991

EVERYBODY OUT 

Its a regular occurrence for readers of this site to raise the subject of a mass boycott of Fans2season tickets as a means of bringing pressure to bear on Mike Ashley. Supporting such an action is a completely legitimate view. However, those who believe such a mass season ticket boycott is the way ahead (and I’m not convinced it is (a) deliverable or (b) will deliver the desired result – which is good, strong, ambitious ownership for the club) really do need to take responsibility for pursuing such a campaign themselves.

Form yourselves into a clearly defined group, raise funds to pay for leaflets and all the other paraphernalia of such a group. The people behind sackpardew.com and the Mike Ashley Out Campaign have done just that. In the past, we have had the United Supporters For Change and we have also had Save Our Seats. What happened to the spirit of the ordinary fans who came together and organised themselves into those campaigning organisations? They didn’t wait for anyone to do it for them, they did it themselves.

Such a dedicated group can  canvass support – put pressure on the likes of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust by becoming members and get the issue discussed, make presentations, develop your argument but for crying out loud, get organised and do it yourselves.

I remain personally unconvinced by the boycott argument – but I promise to allow any group of pro-boycott organisers to have a load of space on this website, in the fanzine and in THE SPECIAL to make your point to season ticket holders.

If any of you want to step forward and start a pro-boycott campaign etc, then drop me a line on editor@true-faith.co.uk and you can fill me in on all of your plans and what you need (publicity-wise) from true faith etc.

Its up to those who think that is the way ahead to take action rather than haranguing others to do it for them.

PAY THE LIVING WAGE

The Premier League has just signed off on a new staggering £5.1Bn TV deal. Given Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier Leagueoverseas TV rights that figure is likely to be not far shy of £8Bn per year in future. Players, managers, agents, owners are going to be coining it in.

Premier League clubs can afford to pay the ordinary people who work for them, a Living Wage. We’re talking about the ground-staff, the bar and catering staff, the Box Office staff and the staff working in the club shop and the people on the turnstiles. That includes Newcastle United. If Newcastle United can pay players £60K pw, it can pay the cleaners a Living Wage.

So far, Chelsea and Hearts have agreed to pay the Living Wage. Others may have followed and will follow. We need to put pressure upon Newcastle United to follow the examples of Chelsea and Hearts and pay the people who do the essential jobs necessary to keep the club running a Living Wage.

There is currently a national campaign run by 38 Degrees to raise a petition to highlight the pressure brought to bear upon clubs which are rich beyond the dreams of avarice. That includes Newcastle United, where payment of the Living Wage would only mean a fraction of its income going to ordinary, local people who work week in week out for the club.

Please support the campaign by signing the petition here.

LATEST: We have discovered that Everton and FC United of Manchester have both committed to paying their employees the Living Wage. Similarly, the Football Supporters Federation itself has also committed to paying its staff the Living Wage. Please sign the petition and help persuade Newcastle United to do the same.

NON-LEAGUE ZONE

The growing disaffection amongst Newcastle United supporters has led to many to Stanncrestcompletely abandon the club and some have followed the trail into folowing a non-league club in the region. Some fans, if not completely giving up on United have and are developing an interest in non-league.

We have been told about a great forum where fans of the non-league scene crack on to each other and we’d recommend it to you.

If you join up you’ll be able to crack on with the good lads and lasses who follow the likes of Ashington, Blyth, Percy Main, Heaton Stan, North Shields, Billingham, Whickham and Northallerton. I am sure they will all be welcoming to Newcastle United supporters and happy to exchange opinions on all manner of subjects.

Just click here.

MAGPIE RANGER? 

This humble gobshite fanzine would never make any claim to investigative journalism Carver1(mind neither should most of the media) but we do have a selection of various touts who pass gen to us of various different types. One of the contacts we have is based in Glasgow and is very close to the artist formally known as Rangers Football Club and understands its inner-machinations better than most. Our contact is making it known to us that the next manager of the Ibrox club will be none other than John Carver, current hapless (some might suggest hopeless) incumbent of the Newcastle United dug-out where he appears wholly out of his depth.

He may not be out of his depth in Scotland. He is known to Llambias for being “on-message” with the man upstairs at Newcastle United. Carver’s appointment at Rangers would resolve several problems for Charnley and Ashley. Firstly, it would mean the likes of Carver, Stone, Woodman would be denied any compensation from being binned to allow the appointment of a new gadgie at United. Essentially, moving the existing United coaching team to Glasgow would be the equivalent of transferring some Sports Direct staff between departments. Secondly it puts in place a working coaching team at Rangers which will be the equivalent in stature as any in Scotland. But mainly it might mean Carver and Co. are denied the compensation from their massive contracts folowing Pardew’s departure to Crystal Palace.

There might be a few little flies in the ointment however. Carver has stated that he is a Catholic which might not go down well in Govan and the less than sympathetic number of followers of Rangers who aren’t fond of the Church of Rome and its works. However, having sent Northern Irish Catholic and GAA fan to Ibrox on loan, it would appear the powers that be aren’t exactly tuned in to the sensitivities of the West of Scotland’s sectarian nuances. Correct me if I’m wrong but Ferguson is yet to pull on a light blue shirt for the ‘Gers and was missing from the photo-shoots. He may not know the words to The Sash amd given his background may not be up for the Follow, Follow crack.

We’ll watch this one carefully.

HOPE NOT HATE

The racist, German neo-Nazi group, PEGIDA and their followers intend to march this Pegidaanti2
Saturday in our city. It will act as a magnet for every weird racist type from near and far. It galls me that these people might be in the vicinity of our city’s war memorials, tributes to the many ordinary Geordies who laid down their lives fighting Nazism and Fascism in World War Two.

The front for their march is some opportunist and cynical “concern” about radical Islam.

Demonstrating a concern about radical Islam is probably not best served by a march which will intimidate local, decent Muslim people who live, work, study and run businesses in our city. And who support the city’s football club. As well as sharing an ancient religion with some of the players who we will hopefully be cheering for only a few hours after the march and counter demo at St James’ Park.

You’ll be unsurprised to discover that this fanzine has no formal links with any political group whatsoever. However, a good few of the people who put this thing together will be attending the counter-demo which meets in Gallowgate at 10am on Saturday.

We’ll be doing that to show solidarity with the good, law-abiding decent Muslim people who call this city their own and are as Geordie as any of the rest of us. We want to show that we are their friends and we stick together. We’ll be making our way to Gallowgate on Saturday morning because we want to show solidarity with the Muslim Mags who follow our club and that they belong in our city centre, on our streets more than any inadequate racists from God knows where. That they belong in the stands of St James’ Park too. We’ll also be making our way to Gallowgate to show solidarity with the Muslim players we have on the club’s books as well.

We hope to see loads of you in Gallowgate as part of the counter-demo as well.

That is all.

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12 Responses to true faith : PARISH NOTICES (Updated)

  1. mikey says:

    Well done for putting this out there. (all 3)

    I think a boycott is a good idea, and i would definitely be up for getting involved in any organising/promoting with it, but i;ve got my concerns with its viability in the current game.

    Fans, like workers, have as a last recourse the ability to withdraw their support the way workers withdraw their labour. A fan strike

    But with the nature of being a fan (you can’t support another club like you can find another employer), as well as the ticketing structure that exists (i.e. we’ve all already bloody paid for the season) it resembles a strike when you’ve already done the work and when no other employer exists.

    That is not to say I’m not up for trying to get people to throw their season tickets in, just think its a much bigger ask than it seems.

    The way I would look at it, is of we can’t be successful at a ‘strike/boycott’ we can focus on another way to leverage pressure.

    Ashley sells a product around the world – Newcastle United matches live on TV – he also uses that to sell Sports Direct gear and open stores. That product is very specific. It is 90 minutes of uninterrupted football which must be shown at a certain time within the schedules etc. That is what the brand hinges on.

    I would think if enough of us could ‘sabotage’ that product we could begin to bring pressure on him in ways that not going once we’ve already paid could not.

    One way would be by not allowing the game to finish, with the threat that we would do it again if our demands were not met, while gaining the support of other fan groups by having demands that link to all clubs (fan ownership, ticket pricing, heavy stewarding issues etc).

    A peaceful invasion of the pitch on, for example, 60 minutes on the last game of the season, with a promise to do it in the first game of the next season, would have his ‘product’ seeming a little weak over the summer.

    If enough of us go on the pitch (but far less than would be needed for a successful boycott, and i think there’re enough pissed off people to do this), we sit in the centre arms linked and refuse to budge. We’ll probably be dragged off one by one, but if there’s enough of us it would take too long. This is how activists and campaigners bock roads and bridges around the world for their demands, and is very effective.

    They’d either abandon the game or it would be stopped getting screened wherever it was around the world. Either way its a result, and could be used as pressure on Ashley. If we are properly organised we can pull things like this off while lessening the obvious risks to ourselves.

    I think this leads to another point, which is any organisation that does come into being, we need to communicate and learn from fan groups around the world that have decades of experience in exerting pressure in their clubs and their game to get their demands. Fan and ultra groups in Germany, Turkey, Spain, Greece and Italy lead the way in this. The thing about these groups is they are organised, and through organising you gain power.

    That idea above is just one thing we could think about, but as well and in addition to all that, there is a wealth of other tactics and strategies we can employ.

    I’d be on board with any such wide-ranging fan group with demands linked to getting the game back for the fans in all the ways it has been stolen from us, even prior to Ashley coming (and ultimately of course, getting Ashley out).

  2. Peter Shearer says:

    Michael-why can’t the existing supporter groups get together and pool their ideas/resources? There are plenty of people willing to get involved, but it should not mean starting from scratch again with another group, whose motives will no doubt be challenged by some.I joined NUST and will do what I can to influence their actions,but I honestly do not see why we cannot use what we already have and save a lot of repetitive work,

    It does seem like there are now far more people willing to act than there have been since I began my boycott several years ago.I accept that those that have tried previously have been dismayed at the lack of support, but it does seem like there has been a noticeable shift in opinion now.I do not think we should lose the support of those fans willing to help just because they are unable to be the originators of the action.Whatever people can do to support the anti Ashley campaign is fine in my eyes.

    Borrowing a line from your PEGIDA item (I support your stance on this):-

    “We want to show that we are their friends and we stick together”.

    This needs to apply to the anti-Ashley campaign as well.

    • mikey says:

      I agree with you Peter, but i think for any anti-ashley campaign to work, it needs to be much broader than just Ashley.

      Ashley for us, is the worst of all modern football, and other fans at other clubs suffer the same indignity on a lower scale. Ticketing, prices, contempt for fans, profiteering, killing of the atmosphere etc.

      I think an anti-ashley campaign kust be liked with a broader cmapign of fan ownership (or at the very least guaranteed seats on the board) through law. This is the German model that everyone always complements. The fans are organised for sure, but the stipulation of fan involvement was made at a government level.

      While i don;t think we can force ashley to sell for a loss, we can attempt to force changes in law. This is something Andy Burnham MP has specifically said he would look at if elected. And while i don;t trust politicians as far as i could throw them, this would be a chance to put real pressure on a government to enforce some kind go legislation that compels clubs to involve their fans at a decision making level. Again, this is the German model. The ultimate goal would be fan ownership (or shares of 51% by law). This would guarantee to get shot of Ashley.

      So this needs organisation with other clubs. Palace fans are quite good on this FC united fans etc. there are groups out there taking actions. And while ours is a specific problem with Ashley i think it is indicative of a problem with football, and can only be solved at the level of the whole game.

      Because if we get rid of Ashley who is to say some other bastard doesn;t come in his place if we’ve got no say over who he sells it too. And no-one Mike Ashley’s (you don;t know how nasty we can get) regime he would probably try and do one over on us on purpose.

      I am completely on board with your ideas, but i think our success would come at the level of the whole game

  3. Greeny's Guitar says:

    Mikey, I agree wholeheartedly with your strike, employer, club comparison but I’m afraid your pitch invasion proposal may be a non starter.
    I would not be prepared to break the law which is what you’re suggesting.

    • mikey says:

      While i agree with you Greeny – and for the record i’m not encouraging anyone to break the law, I was suggesting this ‘blockade’, disruption’ type action is the type of thing fans could consider – i’m getting to the end of my rope now.

      I think its up to people how far they want to take it. I for one, have stopped going to sjp until Ashley is gone (only go to away games now) would be prepared now to take some risks in getting him gone.

      I’m not suggesting trouble, that will get us no-where, i’m suggesting the football equivalent of civil disobedience.

      It has a long and strong history of working very well. It is not violent, it is just belligerent, disruptive, purposeful action. There’ll always be risks involved, and i would respect anyone, like yourself who is not prepared to go that far. However there are many things people can do besides, and we don’t all have to do the same thing.

      The important thing is that, even if we are all not doing the same action/strategy/tactic, we support each other and back each other up.

  4. Peter Shearer says:

    I agree with those sentiments Mikey-Ashley is just our part of the bigger problem.But whereas some fans had a little sympathy for Pardew-not many have any for Ashley.I do think we may be able to get some help with our aims from the local MP’s who have already indicated they support the need for change in the regulations.

    Is Michael going to respond to the query re uniting all the supporter groups? Is there any issue of “egos” with the relevant groups stopping them working together?

    • mikey says:

      I don;t think, from memory, that TF lads do that sort of thing. They are a conduit for ideas but don;t have time to form or organise groups on their own, due to obvious commitments with TF.

      That is just what i remember from previous times but they can speak for themselves.

      I think the point of the article is that if anyone wants to do that, they’ll publish and promote the idea.

      What about you peter? 🙂 You seem keen as mustard. I’m sure TF lads would pass on relevant contact details if you wanted to unite the groups…

      I’d help you as well to be honest. I’m game.

    • there is only one properly active supporters group – the Newcastle United Supporters Trust – which is members based and democratic – but not enough supporters are members. A bigger membership would make it stronger. Everyone is eligible to join and make their views known and to press for action – but it doesn’t happen by making comments on a fanzine’s comments pages. Thousands more need to join and become active. From a much stronger base the NUST can then start really campaigning hard. At present however the prevailing mood amongst fans is apathy.

  5. Fred Quimby says:

    I read earlier that Russel Crowe is asking his Twitter followers whether or not he should buy Leeds Utd; I have just twitted that he should buy Newcastle Utd instead.

  6. Peter Shearer says:

    Yes Mikey, I am keen and willing to help and even prepared to have some of our own fans criticise us,along what might be a long path to victory. But I think the starting point has to be to establish some idea of the numbers we have that would be willing to act together.If the various supporter groups cannot at least agree to meet, with others of us who are willing to help, then even my positive outlook questions whether we can succeed.Can Michael help us by asking users of this site,if they are ready to attend such a meeting.Just a bit of encouragement might get us started.

    I have just spent 2 years helping set up a Credit Union in Penrith and now stepped out so I need a new project! So getting rid of Wonga as a sponsor,as well as Ashley, is well up on the list!

    Are there users of this site that have a handle on the other groups and a feel for their readiness for action?

  7. Chris B says:

    I am utterly convinced that a boycott would work because the only concern the FCB has is money. Start to damage that and he will start to take notice and, additionally, the damage that would be done to his ‘brand’ if his minty tat shop adverts were beamed around the world boarding an empty stadium would be incalculable.

    However, this will NEVER happen. Our support has suffered countless indignities over the last half dozen years and not once has a single large-scale, coherent protest been mustered. Those who are suffering them even now do so under the banner of ‘loyalty’ and claim that supporting NUFC is their birthright, Ashley or no. Ashley knows this too. It’s why he’s become gradually less and less shamefaced about perpetuating these disgraces – once upon a time he threatened to sell up and claimed his safety was in jeopardy; now, he doesn’t even bother releasing a statement.

    People are entitled to continue going. I genuinely think those doing it are making matters worse but they have that right and will exercise it, come what may.

  8. Peter Shearer says:

    So can as many of those of us who are willing to carry the fight,forget the past,pay £10 to join NUST and then we can shape the future. Surely it is worth a tenner to see what we can do together.Then it is down to all of us to make it succeed.