Earlier in the week, I wrote a piece doing my utmost to stir positivity and motivation into the 50,000 Newcastle fans going to the Manchester United game on Sunday.
The feedback was perhaps unsurprisingly…negative.
There is no doubt a lot of gloom, like fog rising from the Tyne on a winter morning, hanging around the fanbase. We don’t need to go over the reasons (which boil down to ‘Mike Ashley hasn’t given Rafa the money to buy a top-class striker in the last three transfer windows’) and you won’t hear me defend the owner. But we need to recognise how debilitating this negativity can be. One of its manifestations is the boycott.
That recurring sense of not wanting to reward the bad behaviour of the management needs to stop now.
I’ve seen and heard it so many times. Fans not renewing their season ticket for the first time in thirty years, or still going to the games but not buying food and drink so Fat Ashley doesn’t get his stubby fingers on an extra penny. Another one is ‘I’ve paid for a holiday with all the money I’ve not spent since I cancelled my direct debit!’ I get it. But the damage you were trying to do has been done. In fact it may have been done by Moussa Sissoko, Florian Thauvin and Papiss Cisse on your behalf through their sheer ineptitude, because the fat man wants to sell up. He’s sick of it too and he won’t dip his short hands into his deep pockets any longer.
The club is on the market and this should be mission accomplished for the boycotters.
So now we know that the club is up for sale what good is any boycott doing? Is it incentivising investors? Is it getting Amanda Staveley to ring up in the middle of the night saying ‘Look, I’ll give you a billion. Just sell me your club!’ obviously not, so what good is it doing? One thing it is not is getting behind the club, the players and Rafa.
If you love the club and call yourself Newcastle fans, then support it.
Because otherwise it’s staying at home, writing snarky comments on social media about how Joselu is the worst player you’ve ever seen and how we’re even worse than Huddersfield. If that’s your contribution you are doing the Mackems’ job for them. What is more, many of us would not call you Newcastle fans at all.
Should Mike Ashley turn around and decide putting the club on the market was just a waste of time, then absolutely don’t buy a new shirt, balti chicken pie or whatever. But while investors are sniffing around we want to look the business. We want Mike Ashley to say ‘we sold this many thousand shirts last year. We can comfortably make this much money on the Kenedy replica shirts alone’.
Love is always stronger than hate and right now I believe Newcastle fans have got a lot to love about our club. Clearly we love the manager, we love Jamaal Lascelles, Mikel Merino, Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett, Matt Richie (though he’s going through an off-patch) and Kenedy looks great. Our form at the moment is pretty decent and I genuinely believe we’ll stay up this season.
So come at me. Tell me I’m deluded and we don’t stand a chance and my favourite players are all rubbish and our tactics are too negative. Yeah it’s the tactics being too negative! If there is one thing I’m not positive about it’s that our home form has been shocking for too long now. And that has got to do with the fans. So if you count yourself a fan, whether you go to the home games or not, then act like one.
We needed a twelfth man round about last week but Sunday would still be a good time for him!