It is very early days but the people behind the #IfRafaGoesWeGo Newcastle fans initiative have discovered that you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.
Over eleven thousand Newcastle fans are already following their Twitter account @IfRafaGoesWeGo which was only launched on Thursday but others have seen reason to question some of what they are doing.
Saturday morning has seen the #IfRafaGoesWeGo organisers issue an ‘important update’, which chiefly concerns an online funding page they had set up.
That update can be read below but basically says that they have decided to drop the fundraising page idea and refund the donations already made.
They say that there were Newcastle fans not happy with this part of what they are doing, which helped to bring about the decision to drop that fundraising angle.
However, they have indicated that they will be doing fundraising still, only via various other routes.
Obviously I don’t know all the ins and outs of exactly what criticism they have been subjected to and whilst I totally understand why their reaction has been to drop this particular fundraising idea, I wish they had just carried on.
The bottom line is that ANY initiative by Newcastle supporters will be criticised by some other supporters. That is simply the way it is, it is a bit like when Kevin Keegan was here as manager and the team were playing brilliant winning football, if they won 5-1 you could still find somebody after the game who would only want to talk about the goal that was conceded.
Reality is that you DO NEED MONEY if anything is going to be attempted to prevent the further destruction of our club under Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez leaving.
Do we just expect those who have started the initiative to fund everything whilst the rest of us stand back and pass comment on what they should and shouldn’t be doing?
Anybody who has been remotely involved in any fan initiative will know it can’t be done without some cash being needed.
When this initiative went public on Thursday, I hoped it wouldn’t be a case of just circulating the #IfRafaGoesWeGo hashtag and no substance behind it.
Great to see that that was just the beginning, that there is plans for so much more to it.
The message has to go way beyond Twitter, that only a small minority of match-going Newcastle fans use.
A decent website will need to be put together, things printed onto paper to get the message out there, protest banners produced, flags, whatever.
It all costs money and if we all believe in this then we have to be prepared to do more than spending five seconds and no cash retweeting a message.
People want action to start as soon as possible in trying to change things for the better, it can’t be a case then of say wanting to spend £500 on leaflets or banners or whatever, then having to tell fans this and to then fundraise in some way, delaying things by weeks potentially. There are no superfans out there who will magically make everything ok, whilst everybody sits back and waits for them to do it.
From #IfRafaGoesWeGo –
When we started this movement on Thursday we wanted to create a platform for change. Our hope was that we could all come together as fans under a common theme – that Rafa Benitez must stay as the manager of Newcastle United Football Club.
The response from people has been fantastic and we feel that this has given us all a bit of a focus.
It’s obvious that you can’t please all the people all the time. Football is, of course, all about opinions.
We have our own views about the actions needed to generate change and yesterday we came under pressure to set up a fundraising scheme to kick start action. We now feel that was a mistake. Whilst there was a lot of support and a number of donations, the tone of the movement shifted. As we keep saying, we are fans, no more no less. We weren’t prepared (or willing to accept) some of the criticism that came our way and we’ve come to the conclusion that this could undermine what we’re all looking for. A positive platform for change, not another opportunity for us to argue with each other.
We still believe that the foundations for the actions needed are as we set out:
- Direct action/protests at and around St James Park
- Direct action/protests in connection with Sports Direct
- Lobbying, talking to and working with people and groups who can improve the situation at Newcastle United
- Marketing and Publicity – making sure that everyone hears our collective voice.
The proposed key areas of activity are:
- Campaign website. We need to present a credible, professional appearance to the people we want to work with and influence.
- General printed promotional materials including flyers, posters, banners and small flags. This will generate awareness and interest in the campaign and ensure that as many people as possible become actively involved.
- Specific printed materials for protest activity outside St James’ Park and selected Sports Direct stores (leaflets, placards and banners).
- Major flag display.
- #IfRafaGoesWeGo Members Scheme. A campaign to create a real story about the people who will come forward as current Season Ticket holders/regular match day ticket holders and state their intention to walk away at the end of the season if Rafa leaves. A limited number of t-shirts and badges will be produced for the members and their stories will be a powerful tool in the communications activity that is needed.
- Lobbying activity and meeting with potential corporate supporters (no cost).
With the number of people engaging with the account we’ve got a great platform to generate funds and we’re more than happy to host and promote fundraising activity going forward within the structure above.
If any groups want to deliver activity in one of the areas above they should email [email protected] with their plans. There will need to be a named individual and nominated bank account and we’ll draw up a brief “agreement” setting out what will be delivered.
If we feel it fits with the views of the majority of fans on here we’ll set up a specific fundraising page and if people support financially it will go ahead. Hopefully some of the supporter groups who we’ve already been in contact with will be in touch with us again soon.
The current GoFundMe page will be deactivated today and all donations returned. Thanks to everyone who has donated and we hope you understand our decision.
Please continue to post content and promote the movement. Let’s not forget this is all about doing everything we can to get Rafa to stay.