I sign when Rafa signs.
That’s how the summer started for me.
As much as I love going to see Newcastle United week in week out, I decided that if Mike Ashley hadn’t done enough to convince Rafa Benitez to stay then I’d hold off renewing my season ticket.
True to form Ashley, seems as determined as ever to sabotage any chance of ambition at St James Park. Rafa hasn’t signed and neither have I.
Judging from the latest availability on the NUFC ticketing website it looks like a few others have held off as well. Which brings us to what to do next, and the growing #IfRafaGoesWeGo movement.
What became clear as I was talking about not renewing my season ticket earlier in the summer, is that this is a more divisive issue among fans than whether Mitrovic is any good or not.
Some fans get angry at the remotest possibility of a boycott, or not renewing. While others see it as the only thing we have left to fight Ashley with. What I’ve learned is that it’s ok if someone wants to renew, and it’s also ok if someone doesn’t, what’s important is that we remain united and each do what we can to help remove Ashley.
For me, #IfRafaGoesWeGo is trying to harness leverage against Ashley.
Let’s be clear, Mike Ashley has a comfortable life.
For all the fire and fury on Twitter, none of it reaches him.
We can chant as loud as we like at games, he’s not there.
He doesn’t live in the city, or read the Chronicle.
He is deliberately oblivious to the strength of feeling out there and so it is easy for him to continue this course of action. He has no reason to change.
The way to remove Mike Ashley is to change that.
What matters to him? Money and an easy life.
Sports Direct is a PLC and he must face the music when profits fall. Puma paid a high price to make our shirt (and now charge a high price) and will be similarly unhappy if shirt sales don’t reach expected figures. The tactic is simple, make Mike Ashley’s life as difficult as possible so NUFC becomes a burden. Because at the moment it isn’t. It’s easy for him
For some that will mean staying away, for others it’s choosing to buy a retro kit rather than a Puma one. Boycotting Sports Direct, bombarding their Twitter account, joining NUST. For those who manage fan sites and Twitter accounts with large followings (such as The Mag, NUFC360 and True Faith Podcast) it’s about asking what their role is in all this. To publicise? Get involved? At the very least to support.
The point is that if everyone does something, gradually we’ll see a change. The Spurs boycott was followed by an increase in transfer spending. We made Ashley take notice and it’s happening again.
Action does work and it’s vital it is UNITED.
Mike Ashley is counting on apathy, he’s counting on division. Don’t have a go at the person who boycotts, or the person who goes every week.
Think about the small things you can do to affect change and we’ll win. Then we can go back to arguing about Mitrovic.
You can follow the author on Twitter @alanofthenorth