With Newcastle going down 3-1 in their ‘must-win’ home fixture against Bournemouth, it is clear that the club’s situation has become well and truly desperate.
With the Magpies staring relegation in the face – and showing no signs of improvement whatsoever – a poll by the Chronicle has seen 95% of some 4,000 voters declare that it is time for Head Coach Steve McClaren to be sacked.
Time and time again, Steve McClaren has failed to deliver at Newcastle United. A warm weather training camp at La Manga in Spain was expected to turn the club’s season around, yet the two fixtures since have not brought any clear improvement in performances or results.
The defeat to Bournemouth – in which the team was outclassed in all departments by, on paper, a much weaker side – means that the situation is now critical. Ultimately, Newcastle’s last ten fixtures have seen them win two, draw one and lose seven, scoring eight goals and conceding twenty. This form is not good enough for a team fighting to avoid relegation.
Furthermore, McClaren has failed to turn around such poor form in any of his previous managerial or coaching roles.
As England manager, he failed to motivate his players to achieve qualification for the 2008 European Championships after a poor sequence of results.
He has since parted company with clubs such as Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest, FC Twente (in his second spell) and Derby County in similar circumstances. With the Rams, McClaren’s most recent managerial position before he became Head Coach at Newcastle United, he failed to arrest a slump in form which saw his side’s league position plummet from first in the Football League Championship to seventh, outside of the promotion play-offs.
This does not give Newcastle United fans any confidence that Steve McClaren will be able to improve the form of a Newcastle squad which is failing to fulfil its potential.
In spite of this, Managing Director Lee Charnley’s unfounded belief that Steve McClaren is the man to deliver success at Newcastle United shows no sign of weakening. At a recent ‘Fans’ Forum’ meeting, the club declared that it “remains confident that it will remain in the Premier League at the end of the season.”
The question is, how can Newcastle supporters make Lee Charnley – or club owner Mike Ashley – face the facts about the club’s slide and take action?
Boycotting home games has often been suggested in the past, but has failed to gain any real momentum. No loyal football fan is keen to give up on their team, and Newcastle defeats are often followed by chants of “we still follow United” from the club’s devoted followers.
In addition, in difficult economic times nobody is willing to waste the hard-earned money which they have shelled out on expensive season tickets, or indeed match tickets purchased weeks in advance.
Above all, no football fan should ever feel that they have to stay away from the stadium in order to make their feelings known.
Other forms of protest have been similarly unsuccessful. Pre-game marches have struggled to achieve significant support or press coverage; a planned ‘mass walkout’ in the 69th minute of Newcastle’s home fixture against Cardiff City in May 2014 turned out to be similarly disappointing. Perhaps one part of the solution could be to turn to a little-used form of direct action in football: the petition.
Petitions have become an increasingly popular form of protest in recent times, thanks to the growth of online petition sites such as Change.org. They are capable of attracting significant media attention: a recent petition to block Donald Trump from entering the UK received over 500,000 signatures, went viral on social media and even triggered a Parliamentary debate in January.
As a form of protest, petitions can appeal to the masses in ways which other protests cannot. To sign a petition, you don’t have to throw away money spent on match tickets and transport. To sign a petition, there’s no need to turn up hours before a game to take part in a march.
Crucially, considering Newcastle’s sizeable international following, you can sign a petition regardless of whether you live in Jesmond, Jakarta or Johannesburg.
Imagine the pressure that could be put on the club if 52,405 Newcastle supporters made their discontent about Steve McClaren known in writing.
It is on this basis that I invite my fellow Newcastle supporters to sign my petition to Lee Charnley, Mike Ashley and Newcastle United Football Club for Steve McClaren to be sacked. If it succeeds, the club could be saved from relegation. If not, it hasn’t cost a single Newcastle supporter a penny to sign it.
You can sign the petition HERE
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