Momentum is growing in a concerted community effort against Mike Ashley.
People on Tyneside (as well as our black and white brothers and sisters further afield) have had quite enough of Ashley’s stewardship of Newcastle United.
The launch of the #IfRafaGoesWeGo initiative has helped galvanise both support for the manager and protests against the owner.
The club’s official Newcastle United Fans Forum released a statement in support of Rafa Benitez and condemning the lack of support from Mike Ashley, now the fight is heading to the House of Commons.
Chi Onwurah is a Newcastle United fan who just happens to be MP for the Newcastle Upon Tyne constituency that includes St James Park.
Tuesday will see her present a petition to the House of Common, raising the concerns of Newcastle fans, and it stating; ‘The Petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to take action to prevent unscrupulous football club owners from exploiting the clubs, their fans and local communities, with particular reference to Mike Ashley and Newcastle United FC.’
This petition also has the support of fellow North East MPs Ian Mearns, Mary Glindon and Ian Lavery.
Some may question what is the point of this?
Yes, it won’t (unfortunately) lead to Mike Ashley holding his hands up and walking, or the House of Commons kicking him (and other unscrupulous owners) out of the club, but the point is to keep on adding extra layers of pressure.
The more and more negative publicity that can be sent Ashley’s way, and the way he acts with regard to Newcastle United broadcast to a far bigger audience, all the better.
The NUFC owner’s actions have left fans with very little choice, this summer’s events (or lack of them) have just rubber stamped the fact that he has no interest in the long-term health of Newcastle United, or indeed not even the immediate health of the club.
Good to see local MPs stepping up and supporting their constituents.
The petition to be presented by Chi Onwurah states:
“Football is an integral part of Newcastle upon Tyne’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing – fans of Newcastle United are heavily invested both financially and emotionally in the success of the team.
“The current manager Rafa Benitez needs the support of both fans and the club’s owner, this support should include investment in players, training facilities and community engagement.”
“The owner Mike Ashley has not made this support forthcoming.
“The Petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to take action to prevent unscrupulous football club owners from exploiting the clubs, their fans and local communities, with particular reference to Mike Ashley and Newcastle United FC.”