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Opinion

When I said ‘I sign when Rafa Benitez signs’ I meant it – Nothing has changed, I repeat, nothing

9 months ago
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Deadline day approaches. Jim White prepares his best yellow tie, screaming “This just in!” at himself in the mirror repeatedly.

But another deadline looms that I’d argue is more important. The deadline to renew your Newcastle United season ticket (if you’re not on a ten-year deal).

You could be forgiven for not knowing when this deadline is. The club’s muted launch of renewals on social media and the website didn’t exactly put vital information like renewal deadlines and price rises at the front and centre. A hastily written email followed the next day to explain things a bit better, It revealed the deadline for renewals is Wednesday 27th June, with a public sale starting a week later “subject to availability.”

At the start of May I wrote an article – “I sign when Rafa Benitez signs.”

I argued that history had taught us we were in for a summer of links, speculation, war chests, but no real action.

And here we are.

A week from the deadline for renewals. We’ve secured Dubravka on a permanent deal – but at £4m surely we couldn’t argue that was overpriced. Other than that, what has happened (or hasn’t happened)?

Rafa hasn’t seen fit to trust Ashley and sign a contract. We’ve been interested, made enquiries, tentatively linked with a host of players. Not one has led to a bid, let alone an agreement.

There are people better qualified than me to explain the finances behind all of this (@bigchrisholt of this parish being the best in my opinion), but whatever the reason, the facts are we have the best manager we’ve had since Robson. He doesn’t trust Mike Ashley and neither should you.

If we take a brief look at history again, we can see how cosy we’ve made it for Ashley. The odd protest march, we paid our money for Spurs then some of us walked out, and I like many others have renewed year on year. Enticed by the hope of better things.  Many did all of this wearing shirts bought from the NUFC shop that is Ashley’s biggest customer.

A quick glance north of the border shows what we should be doing. When Ashley tried to expand his Sport Direct Cartel to Rangers he was met with a “hostile environment.” The kind our government is so keen on. They made his life incredibly uncomfortable through vocal protest, and a well coordinated UNITED effort. Ashley realised there was only one winner and sold up.

Ask yourself this. Do you want Mike Ashley to sell Newcastle United? Then, contrary to what some say, you can make a difference. You can make Ashley’s life uncomfortable so he can’t demand £400m for the club and must be forced to accept a more reasonable offer. At the moment, Mike Ashley has no motivation to sell Newcastle United.

To get rid of Ashley it requires a strategic political campaign, channelled through those with an audience. NUFC 360, nufc.com, The Mag, True Faith, NUST, Wor Flags, to name a few. People want rid of Ashley but many don’t want the hard work, they don’t want to miss a day on the lash at the match with their mates.

It only ends one way. Rafa won’t walk. But he won’t sign, and neither should you.

I stand by #isignwhenrafasigns. But lets go one step further and work together to create a hostile environment and make Mike Ashley’s life as uncomfortable as possible. If we don’t do it now, it will be too late.

I was recently described by an NUFC fan as “some scrote on Twitter.” You can hurl similar abuse at me @alanofthenorth
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