The last two seasons I have been boycotting, haven’t seen a single Newcastle United home match in the flesh.
Plenty of aways still but I just couldn’t stomach giving Mike Ashley a penny (well apart from the £1 surcharge on every away ticket that he also pilfers from every Newcastle fan!).
I have never written anything for The Mag before but I’d like to share this with you.
I am on my way back, well hopefully.
As I said, I decided in May 2014 that without something major happening, Ashley leaving being the obvious one, I would not be setting foot in St James Park again.
This was after 30 years without hardly missing a home game (funerals, weddings, bar mitzvahs…etc), the last 20 or so as a season ticket holder.
Well, Mike Ashley hasn’t left but I reckon we have the next best thing.
It isn’t that I think we can all no march hand in hand into the sunset and live happily ever after, it is just that the changes made have convinced me to come back but with a watching brief.
I still don’t trust Mike Ashley for a second and any sane person knows he has only bowed to Rafa because he was facing certain disaster at Newcastle otherwise.
Happily though. Mr Benitez had him trussed up like a turkey waiting for Christmas Day.
Rafa Benitez announcing he was staying had me instantly checking out when season tickets can be bought..and now I’m worried whether I will get one!
Such is the faith we have in the Spaniard, I think there will be countless thousands of others acting like me. Fans who still hate Ashley for what he has done to the club and don’t trust him one but BUT who are reassured that what he has had to promise Rafa Benitez in writing, leaves him no wriggle room whatsoever.
I have every faith in Rafa getting promotion at the first attempt and then building the club up as a credible Premier League outfit, why shouldn’t we with his track record, a guaranteed (***) full St James Park and Ashley forced to properly back the manager and let him get on with the job without interference – no doubt through gritted teeth.
(***)I honestly think that next season we are going to have a full St James Park pretty much every match. Once you count up 3,000 away fan places, 3,000 match by match tickets for Newcastle fans and corporates/boxes, you are probably looking at around 40,000 normal season tickets.
I think there is every chance they will sell out and even have a waiting list once again…that shows the power and potential there is at our great club.
Sadly, I also can’t help thinking that it is only a matter of time before Mike Ashley is back in his Premier League comfort zone and believes he doesn’t need to continue with this ‘doing things properly’ new strategy, finding a way to prompt Rafa Benitez to leave. At that point I would instantly walk away again.
I really hope I’m wrong and this is the start of a new era at Newcastle United where they can realise their potential, with or without Mike Ashley remaining in the background.