A classic week of Newcastle United doublespeak in which the club released its annual accounts, and freely presented their Achilles heel to the economic boycotters, by admitting commercial and matchday revenue were crucial to the so called ‘plan’ we are following; then things took a bizarre twist on Thursday.
In an amazing coincidence, media marketing and advertising firm Eleven, a franchise charged with selling advertising space within St James’ Park, contacted Graeme, a Mike Ashley Out Committee member and sometime spokesman, to ask if he was interested in taking up a business opportunity.
Now it must be said, Graeme (a local delivery/removal business owner) did think he was being set up and could smell fish. You see, he no longer advertises locally as he has contract work and is in effect a one man band with an old, but efficient, Mercedes box van. There are many, if not hundreds, of well known local removal firms who could have been approached and, once upon a time, would have snapped up the chance of taking up a business association with the club.
Graeme was scratching his head at how they even got his number and thought it could be a light hearted jape in the style of Jeremy Beadle. Thinking on his feet, he asked James (the boss) to send the offer over to the Mike Ashley OUT Campaign email address where he could duly consider it with colleagues! In John le Carre fashion, a business meeting was then arranged for 3pm on Friday on a rundown industrial estate on North Tyneside, where a salesman would appear. For a sinister assassination attempt on an MAOC member? No one knew, for sure.
As 3pm approached, the tension in the air was fraught with danger – you could have cut it with one of the blades that appears from (Press Officer) Wendy Taylor’s court shoes when someone asks Patsy a press conference question! A 65k Mercedes rolled up and a sharp suited man in sunglasses emerged and approached.
He was quick on the draw…. and pulled out his tablet and portfolio and introduced himself as Sam.
Sam was genuinely a lovely guy, truly professional and very good at his job. Within 30 seconds it was obvious that it was not a set up. He explained the business concept and the foothold that Eleven have in all 20 Premiership clubs.
It is truly admirable that they want to promote local businesses from the local area in partnership with the local football club. I’m sure it works perfectly well at all other premiership clubs -but Newcastle United is no ordinary club. It has a parasite in residence who has sapped the lifeblood of identity, and want of engagement, and Sam must have a harder job up here than most areas, when he tries to sell interactive tv space and bogroom posters. (Incidentally, if you take the £1295 screen package he’ll chuck in, for an additional £300, the opportunity of snapframe posters in 8 bogs at SJP – apparently 4 bogs cost up to 2K at other grounds! [MAOC followers stick theirs up for free!]
Other revelations were that page adverts in the matchday programme can apparently go for up to £1400 for one match; if you are still mad enough to buy one, check out if Mike is getting any freebies will you?
Anyway. Taking a shine to Sam, Graeme cheekily asked if he could advertise his other interest and revealed the Mike Ashley Out Campaign business card and Sam, after turning an ashen grey, quickly recovered his poise and phoned his boss (who had set up the meeting) and was given a quick reply. Suffice to say, Sam left and all who witnessed this were left scratching their heads in bemusement.
What are we to make of all this?
A bizarre coincidence? Undoubtedly, yes.
Is the Eleven concept a good one? Undoubtedly, yes.
Will it work at NUFC? I hope not under the present regime, as it only feeds the monster. It seems removal companies of the region, at least, have their heads screwed on!
Will Eleven be the latest to be banned from SJP? I hope not.
Will we see an end to the Laurel and Hardy way the club is run? I hope so. The sooner the better! It seems the club have given dissenting fans the answer to their dreams.
PS Eleven’s list of clients includes multinational companies and NUFC official Pizza provider Papa John’s and uses Bill Shankly’s quote;
“Aim for the sky and you’ll reach the ceiling. Aim for the ceiling and you’ll stay on the floor”
Maybe NUFC could add on;
“Aim for the floor and you’ll fall in the cellar” ?
You can follow the MAOC on Twitter @Mike_Ashley_Out