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Opinion

Newcastle fans need to be careful what they say to each other

7 months ago
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Only very rarely have I seen Newcastle fans come to blows with each other.

Pretty much every time there have been similar background factors involved.

Sometimes it has been when the team is failing on the pitch but even when that has been the case, it has almost every time been when there are problems happening off it, especially with the club owner(s).

Away matches are more often than not when passions run the highest.

Regular away travellers are amongst those who are most committed to supporting NUFC and usually the ones who take things most to heart, plus not many travel away and don’t have a drink or two…

As I say, thankfully Newcastle fans fighting amongst themselves isn’t common, but times such as when John Hall was attempting to replace the then existing board and Mike Ashley’s treatment of Kevin Keegan, are prime examples.

It isn’t necessarily about the fans wanting different things, usually it is more about what they think is the best way to bring it about.

Which brings me to Newcastle fans in the modern day, rather than trading blows on the terraces, it now tends to be keyboard warriors trading blows on social media.

Less painful if you get hit but arguably even more frustrating…

Whereas arguments used to be more or less restricted to matchdays – before, during, or after games, now it is obviously 24/7 for people to have a go at each other.

Not difficult to guess what is at the heart of any argument between Newcastle fans these days, I have only two words to say…Mike Ashley.

Apart from trolls and those who are barking, everybody wants rid of the NUFC owner.

How best to do it though?

The supporters are split. Either anything is worth trying, or the alternative view is that what’s the point because nothing will make a difference.

I have no problem with either camp and  indeed I constantly veer between the two standpoints BUT nothing justifies having a go at each other.

Mike Ashley is the only enemy here, well he and his willing minions who are constantly dragging our great club down.

All Newcastle fans should have a little respect for each other.

Many are calling for boycotts of season tickets/matches, others say don’t buy the new strips, no more buying pies and pints is the call from some. As for Sports Direct, some supporters want their fellow fans to avoid it at all costs.

All of this is fine but don’t feel you have a right to start calling somebody because they won’t do as you want them to.

By all means say what you are doing and ask you to join them in boycotting matches, kit, pints, and Sports Direct, but who is anybody to tell someone else they are a disgrace if they don’t do as they are told.

This works as well the other way of course, nobody should get grief just because they are staying away from matches, whether because of Mike Ashley or whatever.

It all feels very much like the hardcore smoker who packs in, often they go from thinking they should have the right to still be able to smoke anywhere they want, to then overnight suddenly believing nobody should be smoking anywhere.

Back to Newcastle fans and I think the worst ones for calling those who are still going to matches (and also maybe scoffing pies and pints) are those who aren’t affected. Usually people who live away and who can’t get to matches regardless.

It is easy for them to tell others what they should and shouldn’t do, as it doesn’t impact on their life.

For those Newcastle fans who go to games it is usually a massive part of their social life and temporary escape from the usual stresses and strains of life with family, work and home life.

Trying to bully them to give up their matchday routine is the lowest of the low. Fair enough if you want to set an example and try to persuade others but just because you have now reached your breaking point doesn’t then mean others fans also have, anybody who decides to stop (or start again) going has to make that decision themselves.

If  it was as simple as everybody missing one game and Mike Ashley then guaranteed to be holding his hands up and selling the club, I would like to think we’d be left with only a handful of people inside St James Park.

That isn’t reality though and we are faced with a situation whereby a billionaire has hold of Newcastle United and is desperate to keep hold of it, no matter how many times he pretends to put it up for sale. The help it gives Ashley’s retail empire is totally underplayed by most Newcastle fans in my opinion, Newcastle Unite dis the gift that keeps on giving for SD shareholders, of which Ashley holds a roughly two thirds share.

Who knows what, if anything, would make Mike Ashley sell Newcastle United.

Maybe nothing would. Ashley clearly would rather risk another relegation than lose a battle of wills with Rafa Benitez, so like a spoilt kid, every chance he would see this club in the gutter rather than ‘lose’ to the fans.

This doesn’t mean give up, if you think boycotting matches or whatever will help, then go for it. Don’t though call others traitors because they won’t dance to your tune. Try to persuade by your sacrifices (as the excellent MAOC (Mike Ashley Out Campaign) did), as well as the ashleyout.com initiative) but don’t take your frustrations out on other Newcastle fans.

In this era, no big Premier League club has been sold due to pressure exerted by boycotts.

Man Utd fans were desperate to get rid of the Glazers and protested long and hard but got nowhere, they have been in control at Old Trafford for two years longer than Ashley at Newcastle.

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Arsenal fans have been moaning for as long as anybody can remember about both Arsene Wenger and increasingly the owner(s) but they haven’t had any impact.

At Liverpool, Hicks and Gillett unified the fans (and Rafa) against them but despite their protests nothing could be done, until luckily for them the American pair ran out of money and were forced to sell.

At none of these clubs have there been successful mass boycotts of matches or anything else.

The Premier League functions with big clubs having an overwhelming percentage of tickets sold as season tickets, the reality as well being that in most cases there are plenty willing to take the place of those who give up.

Just look at Newcastle United, I know loads of people who have packed in because of Mike Ashley, can you imagine just how many people could potentially want to go to games if Ashley left and the club was ran along ambitious lines?

Bottom line is, if somebody still gets a buzz/pleasure out of actively following Newcastle United then good luck to them, you can’t be having a go at them to give it up and stop going until Mike Ashley leaves, with every chance he could be here for the next five, ten, twenty years.

Frightening I know but sadly it is now coming up to the 10th anniversary of Kevin Keegan being forced out, and then Mike Ashley promising to sell the club after the fans kicked off.

The reckless and manipulative way that Mike Ashley runs the club, almost guarantees that there will be another relegation along very soon.

Only this time there may well not be a Hughton or Benitez in place to mastermind an instant return to the top tier, fans will then by their own accord say enough is enough and walk away, until Ashley then walks away.

I have always thought it will only be when Ashley totally wrecks the club that he finally sells up and nothing tells me this will change now.

A sad and depressing thought but until that happens, everybody should keep on doing what they want to do and co-exist in harmony on and off the terraces.
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