The Newcastle United Magical Misery Tour v Manchester United
Prior to our match on 5th April, the Mike Ashley Out Campaign (MAOC) facilitated the ‘Magical Misery Tour v Manchester United which saw an open-top bus driving through Newcastle City Centre in a gesture of ironic ‘celebration’ for the end of the tax year.
This form of protest was designed to be a tongue-in-cheek homage to the way Mike Ashley runs the club.
It also marked a return to the more self-deprecating roots of the Mike Ashley Out Campaign and thankfully we are proud to report that we feel that we managed to convey that message across to the general public, while also managing to highlight the serious issue at hand; namely Mike Ashley running Newcastle United as a financial exercise, not as the famous sporting institution it is.
The protest was invite-only, which saw representatives from online groups such as Talk of the Tyne and United 111 present on the bus – their reports of the event are already online. Representatives from NUST and the FSF were also present with Norman Watson and Kevin Miles representing those respective organisations.
While Mary Glindon MP could not attend, she offered her continuing support by sending a representative on her behalf.
There were also humorous representatives invited, with the Geordie Arab and the lone shark against loan sharks adding a bit of colour to proceedings.
All in all, there were around 50 in total on the open-top bus and all were in fine voice as the ‘Magical Misery Tour’ made its way around the city, despite the awful weather. Banners flew from the front and back of the bus – ‘Toot if you want Ashley oot’ was kindly adhered to by many, and there were hundreds of well-wishers waving and raising smiles at our humorous protest which was incredibly encouraging.
The bus made short stops by the Quayside for photographs with the banners, as well as in the middle of the Tyne Bridge, and once more outside the stadium. All of which piqued interest in what we were doing, with many passers by taking pictures on their phones, and generally discussing the nature of the protest.
We here at the Mike Ashley Out Campaign are delighted with the exposure the protest has received both before and after, with national newspapers such as The Independent and The Guardian deciding to cover the event before the weekend’s match and the Daily Mail covering the protest both before and afterwards.
The ‘Magical Misery Tour’ was also well covered locally with the Chronicle running the story on Friday morning and we would like to thank them for their continued support.
We have also encountered many new supporters on our internet forums, Facebook and Twitter, and while there will always be those who disapprove, we believe that the protest has been generally well received.
Follow MAOC on Twitter @Mike_Ashley_Out
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