Currently sat in the airport waiting for my flight to Dublin, I thought I would put together some thoughts ahead of the first Newcastle United friendly of pre-season.

Without being sure exactly where to start, I had a little look at what I said after our first pre-season game last season away to Hearts and it was surprisingly positive. Although, that was because I made an effort not to talk about transfers. There is nothing at all to be positive about right now with Newcastle United.

Over the last few weeks I have had the feeling that this summer has gone to a whole new level, but let’s be honest, absolutely nothing has changed. With the exception of one summer, and two January windows, this has been the norm under Mike Ashley. If you have been living in a bubble, and I admit, it is mainly fans of my age bracket (16-25) who are guilty of this most, let me just refresh your memory of how this summer has gone;

One new player at Newcastle United since the final months of the last campaign.

One player has left. Mikel Merino was allowed a tiny ‘buy out’ clause when signing permanently for the club. Suggesting that the club never had any intention of keeping him anyway.

The prices of season tickets rose. Yes, I am still trying to get my head around that one.

Newcastle introduced two new shirts and the owner through Sports Direct, charged Newcastle fans more than any other club’s fans. We still do not know how much percentage of shirt sales go to the club and how much goes to Sports Direct.

There is no money to spend. The club have made perfectly clear that Rafa will not be allowed to spend money until they have raised money from the sales of Mitrovic, Sels, Mbemba and even Matt Ritchie.

No new contract for the manager. Rafa will go.

That is only in the space of one month, in one summer. With three weeks of the transfer window remaining, if you don’t know the rest of the story, then you’ve never read the book.

Even as I sit here now, a quick look through my phone and I am reading about how Newcastle are interested in signing Rondon… ON LOAN!? Putting aside the embarrassment of not being able to spend any money, the club has now resorted to not being able to sign players from a Championship club. On a similar note, the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has made it clear that we aren’t interested in signing Matt Phillips from the same club… thanks Lee!

It really is embarrassing. There is no way any player would sign a long-term deal at Newcastle anyway, considering that Rafa only has 12 months left on his contract, so I think any hope people have of any serious signings coming in, should be disregarded right now.

I am the last person to have a pop at other fans but those people that continue to defend Mike Ashley, or any other club official for that matter, should really have a think about what type of club they want to support. If you aren’t angry at what is going on, if you are going out and buying the new shirt, or going along with the likes of Chronicle in talking about potential transfers, then you are not helping. You are only adding to what can only be described as Sports Direct United. Where have you been for the past 11 years? What world are you living in?

For anything to change, fans need to make their views clear, and I don’t mean singing ‘get out of our club, you fat b…… in the last five minutes of a game.

I have cited the actions of German fans in the past but look at West Ham fans last season. I am not condoning the behaviour of some of them because it was a disgrace and for a minority of them they should be banned for life. I know the club quite well, and let me tell you, they don’t have it anywhere near as bad as Newcastle fans, but do I understand why they were so angry?

Instead, they got off twitter, they didn’t ‘brown-nose’ the club, and they put REAL pressure on their owners and showed them how displeased they were at the running of their club. This summer they have gone out and spent £80 million.

I won’t suggest people don’t go and support their team but do you have to buy the shirt? Do you have to buy a pint in the ground? Those little things can go some way to putting pressure on.

If we went out and spent money and they turned out to be rubbish, then well, in a way that is football. Of course we would have a good moan about it, talk about solutions, talk about who is to blame, but at least, as a football fan you would have a bit of satisfaction knowing that your club is trying.

I will probably keep reiterating this over the next few weeks, and I admit it is an unpopular opinion which I get hammered for, but for any meaningful change to happen any time soon then Rafa has to leave.

At the moment I think he is the only thing stopping the majority of people from getting angry enough to do something about this shambles.

I said for a while that the only positive at Newcastle United is Rafa Benitez but now I have changed my mind. As much as I love the guy, his presence, and the ‘false hope’ he gives fans, is actually holding the club back.

Nothing will ever change at Newcastle United Football Club as long Mike Ashley is here.

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  • Mike D

    I agree with you on Rafa. He’s keeping the supporters from banging on the door and demanding more. I’d love for Rafa to sign a new contract but while MA is in charge, he’s wasted on “Sports Direct United”.

    • TheFatController

      I think Rafa knows signing a new contract would make things worse, not better. As Keegan said, and I am sure Rafa now agrees, he lies. Simple as that.

  • Graham Chapman

    For everyone who is wandering up to the checkout at SD with the new home shirt and forking out £65, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Definitely supporting the regime………not the team when buying the shirt……

  • JonMag

    [email protected]@king spineless fans all 52,000 of them, Rafa will leave next summer and 52,000 will still turn up, if that`s the case they deserve the Fat [email protected] t

    • Mark Davies

      How does it make me spineless to go and watch a team Ive supported for over 40 years. Yes its dire at the moment, but I wont give up just because of a useless owner. Ive seen useless owners for most of the time Ive been going.

      If it makes you feel better or like some sort of hero toon protestor not to go thats your choice and good for you. There really is no point in calling other fans who decide to go because you dont agree with it. If anything it probably gives Ashley a chuckle looking at the divisions he causes.

      • TheFatController

        My view, and I may be wrong, is that he laughs not at the divisions, just at the fans that turn up.

        Why would he laugh at those that don’t turn up? He’d be more likely to be worried there may be more end up like them and stay away, and then he really does have a problem, not a laugh.

        • Mark Davies

          That fair mate, but what I had meant is that he laughs at the divisions he causes betweeen fans such as JonMag calling anyone who goes.

          Not to go is his choice but there is no need for name calling amongst each other as we all support NUFC. So what I had meant is that if he were to read comments when fans are calling each other he probably laughs his considerable daddery glands off at the bickering amongst us.

          Im not sure what the answer is to get rid of him, but while there is no genuine buyer out there unfortunately we are stuck in the hurtful limbo we are in.

          I wouldnt cancel my season ticket as I enjoy the day out and watching the match there as you cant beat actually being there and some days the atmosphere still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and can even bring a tear to the eye and thats why I wont stop going.

          That said, if as is looking likely there is no proper investment meaning Ashley will have just pocketed the TV money then Im all for joining in a supporter group organised protest. I would be prepared to miss one game if it sent a genuine message and there were enough season ticket holders prepared to do the same.

          • TheFatController

            I take your point, I do think he likes drama, and the divisions probably help him deflect whatever feelings of powerlessness he has that make him motivated to aggravate people generally.

            I only object to the criticism of the negativity – I think once Rafa goes we will be in meltdown that will have our detractors rejoicing. Yet people seem to think Rafa is undecided on staying, thinking he may influence Ashley. Rafa knows him better than we do, what’s to like about Ashley?

      • I Think Therefore I Am Will

        Aye, some fans aren’t such an pushover, they’ll show discontentment by voting with their feet, wallet or purse! It’s exacerbating how willingly peeps still hand over their hard earned cash, with our club as an advertising cash cow, a utter joke, while simetanously being dragged thro the mire, but each to their own!

        There will never be any ambition, and for a Sports club: this in itself speaks volumes. Say unless by luck, there’ll never be likes of a decent cup run to look forward to, it won’t happened as he’s admitted to this. So no getting that sense of excitement (or trepidation) looking forward to pushing on from last season, mostly the last 11 years shows this, it’s how far we’ve sunk, coupled with dire football, and a well known penny pinching club that not many decent players will sign up for. Cont…

        • I Think Therefore I Am Will

          You go see the match, buy merchandise etc, and nothing will ever change, as a Mr Nelson said ‘The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard’

          So yes, maybe for now I bite my nose off to spite my face, but I’ll never accept his conditions and how pitiful he likes to run our club. Never one to just roll over and have my belly tickled, not lame that way, similar to the other dozen or so I used to love going to the matches with, altho I also lost a job, so perhaps my bitterness runs deeper than most.

          • I Think Therefore I Am Will

            Dear me, as others have said – these Spam filters are an absolute joke! Grr grr grr

  • Steven05

    Impossible to disagree with any part of this article

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    This is realpolitik with Fatty and is very sound advice – don’t buy anything at all in the ground. Boycott all merchandise, especially replica shirts. Boycott attendances (if you can bear to). Season ticket holders have been misled again too. Toon fans have been conned again, and unless he is hit in his pocket, and quite substantially, it’ll just go on and on.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      I started a long time ago, wish more people would. Stick it to fatty the only way he understands

      • TheFatController

        I suspect Rafa will one day, in a distant autobiography, say the downfall of NUFC was that Ashley felt no pressure to back him, because he knew he’d still get 50k turning up, (many of whom were shaming anyone ‘too negative’ on the Mag), with Gordon Strachan in charge …

        • Peter C

          Is Gordon Strachan still alive. (The little ginger scottish garden gnome)

          If he is, he’s been keeping a low profile for a while.

          Wish some other ex pro’s and some so called experts, would do the same thing.

          • TheFatController

            Equally so has Joe Kinnear

          • Kneebotherm8

            He canna help keeping a low profile………..he’s only 4 foot 10……😂

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Nail on the head, couldn’t agree more. Our fans have Stockholm syndrome

  • Toontaff

    Wear your old Brown Ale/Northern Rock tops, bring your own beer or go to pubs outside the ground – there are a few.
    And, most of all, make sure you go on all the NUFC websites and blogs, whinge constantly, abuse fellow Toon fans and make up all sorts of conspiracy theories. It’s worked well, so far………..

    • Toontaff

      Oh, and keep the SAFC articles coming – I love a good laugh at their expense…………

  • David2211

    Rafa is the only thing I like about football these days, but even I am at the point where I want him to go just so I can say ‘f*ck it’ to all of it and walk away until Ashley is gone. I haven’t gone to a game in 2018 and never will again until Ashley is gone but while Rafa is there there is still a desire inside me to see us do well for him.

    • TheFatController

      Don’t worry, Rafa has said f••k it, 10 months is less than some people’s notice period when in high responsibility jobs.

      He’s effectively working his notice. And the football world knows it.

      • Jezza

        You are right, Rafa is most definitely working his notice…..and Pardew is sitting eagerly by the phone.

        • Peaky

          Yes,you can see it now….Pardew…..”I’ve had a few months away from the game,I’m refreshed,ive studied the World Cup,ive got new ideas and most importantly have unfinished business”……

          • TheFatController

            He’ll always have unfinished business trying to get that signing ‘over the line’…

          • Kneebotherm8

            Wonder if he’s learnt from the World Cup how to score goals from set pieces?…………….we didn’t manage to score many,if any,when he was coach here……….or was that Geordie Johns fault?…….😂😂

        • I Think Therefore I Am Will

          Maybe worse, as Penfold has seen how it’s done 😱

        • TheFatController

          Gordon Strachan. You get what you deserve, they say…

  • Desree

    A half full stadium for a few games will fast change Mike Ashley’s mind.

  • Vodkamagpie

    It’s got nothing to do with the fans, West ham just have terrible owners and recruitment policy.

    • Big Hairy Man

      Almost as bad as ours.

      • Vodkamagpie

        Depends how west ham would do if they got relagated. The amount of players going in and out of that club is ridiculous, and every transfer costs money. Great that they spend 80mil , but look at all the previous rubbish that they have bought recently. Will this current batch of players be any different , only time would tell

    • I Think Therefore I Am Will

      I just wish Rafa could spend that sort of cash, I bet we’d be flying high, and better all the last decade+ seasons.

  • I Think Therefore I Am Will

    I have a couple of Hammer fans visiting family, I tried everything to avoid em, it was always going to happen tho!
    What fun they had, constant myriad of jibes and ridicule (which usually I don’t mind, expected from other fans).
    Altho somewhat sympathetic; still they constantly ripped the pizzzz, and wow, it actually felt different, not just the usual banter; it hurt, and boy even with my stance, I felt pretty ridiculed, not just embarrassed!

    ‘We are the Poundstretchers, no actually more the Oxfam of the UK & European football scene’

    Can’t wait to ‘P’ on his grave, for the disrespect he’s not only show the Toon fans, but the way he’s dragged our beloved club thro the mire!!

    BOYCOTT EVERYTHING MA!

    • Kneebotherm8

      I’ll join you dancing on the fat twts grave……………as long as he’s not buried at sea…

      • I Think Therefore I Am Will

        Lol, that did make me giggle, if only – tho I’d be sure try my hardest to find a way to dance on H2O 😂

        • Kneebotherm8

          The Sharks would spit him out if he was buried at sea……..

  • TheFatController

    The problem at the club is that many fans can justify going behind the ‘team not regime’ line.

    But as far as I can see, they spend their whole time slagging off the players often as not good enough, and then when Ashley gets slagged off they call it ‘too negative’.

    So Ashley leaves us with poor players who loyal fans criticize. But just don’t go criticising Ashley, it gets those loyal fans down.

    That they can’t see the ‘cause and effect’ is a sad indictment of their ability to analyse properly.

  • Peter C

    Anyone who shops at Sports Direct to buy a new Newcastle football shirt, must be stupid.

    Why if you must buy a new shirt, buy one where it’s more expensive than anywhere else.

    Hense, don’t be so embarrassing, and show some intelligence!

  • NUFCLX

    It is not only the Hammers fans protesting but the publicity it generates that makes the owners take notice. It was all over the news about them protesting. The same thing happened in the sack the board days, the fans protests were reported on by all the media, we even had a good local newspaper in them days called the Evening Chronicle that backed the fans and the Magpie Group, I wonder what happened to that publication, sold its soul I believe and moved to Smoggy Land.

  • 1957

    West Ham are at the opposite end of the PL also ran group to NUFC. Year on year they seem to spend a fortune to little effect, I doubt their fans demonstrations had any effect on this year’s outlay.

    I was told their coach/manager used to be presented with a list of potential signings with maximum values they would pay by the Baroness and owners and could choose from that list up to a budget limit. Pellegrini’s condition for taking the job was he determines the list. The latter presumably is what Benitez wants

    In the end I suppose it’s not necessarily what you spend but that your new players are of a better quality than what you have and that the coach makes the best he can of their talent.

    • TheFatController

      I think ambition had an effect on this year’s outlay.

  • Geordiegiants

    This needed to happen ten years ago, the fans tried but the spectators just sat doing exactly the same as they are doing now, fuckall!

    • TheFatController

      It’s good that Ashley treats Rafa, Keegan, Shearer, and Hughton, and the fans totally disrespectfully.

      I think that’s worth anyone turning up for. It’s never dull when you have an owner who abuses the privilege of owning our great club.

      I’d rather say for a lifetime ‘Ashley won’t stop me going’ than miss a few games as a collective to ensure I never have to say that again….

      • Geordiegiants

        It’s why people like Kim Jong un etc stay in power. They are battered into submission basically.

      • Weyhhadaway

        As I replied to you earlier, more click bait to let us rant at the fat lad.

  • Down Under Mag

    The fans are just in a holding pattern. Ashley knows he can just get by, cashing in on the TV money…like it or not staying away will be a drop in the ocean financially but boy would it give the owner a perfect excuse to cut back even further and make the fans suffer even more. There in lies the problem, save for stopping following the club altogether there is not much we can do to effect the running of the club because the owner doesn’t need the fans to continue his plan of action. We have got an amazing manager, the best since Sir Bobby and he is being treat with utter contempt by the owner. This stand off over funds v contract though is going to see us in a relegation fight and no doubt the P.R. spin doctors under Ashley will already be plotting how they can try and pin this on anyone but the owner…

    • Andy Mac

      Staying away is what will make the PL sit up and take notice. They pride themselves on selling competitive games at sold out stadiums to the rest of the world. We need an empty SJP for two consecutive televised games, meeting in Leazes Park instead or just watching in pubs ?.

    • Mxpx

      Or it forces his hand to sell while the club still has value as if he gets relegated again no TV money no fans propping up the wage bill the club genuinely will be losing money and he will either have to back the club himself or get nothing when he sells it

    • Geordiegiants

      No it won’t, there is not a business on this planet that would survive without customers

  • NUFCDan

    Just lucky for us Ashley can’t sell our stadium. No doubt he would if he could.

    • Geordiegiants

      He can! He possibly already has to Mash.

  • Viru leckworth

    If we completely boycott the pre season friendlies, that would be a start. Any spectral optimism has now been lain to rest. It is totally unbelievable Ashley continually refuses to invest in a potential gold mine.

    • Andy Mac

      Its actually quite believable knowing how vindictive the Fat R’s can be. He’s annoyed Rafa isnt signing a new contract so he’s making it as difficult for him as possible. Fortunately Rafa knows how to use the media and the world now knows what’s going on.

      So NUFC fans what’s it to be ?

    • Mxpx

      Why just the pre season friendlies

  • Mike

    Re-name NUFC to Sports Direct FC (put your own comment as to wot the FC could be) Cashey running it like his tat shops cheap and spend/pay nowt while racking in the millions. and guess wot 50k will still turn up

  • Andy Mac

    For 99% of this site JDC you’re preaching to the converted. Sadly there are many out there who are happy to have their noses rubbed in it season after season and the Fatman knows it.

    Wake up you lot before its too late and Rafa’s gone and Pardwho returns ?🤔🙄

    • Geordiegiants

      They aren’t having their noses rubbed in it. They are only interested in their social lives.

  • Mxpx

    Here’s a tip for everyone you don’t need to pay to support the club watching on TV does not mean you aren’t behind the team if ZERO tickets were sold (unrealistic I know) then that’s 20 matches a season which he would see nothing for I’d guess gates are around 2 million a game so that’s probably 40 million a season god knows what merch is worth but I’d guess more than gates if no one buys a shirt were then probably looking at 100 million we can knock off the value of the club under his ownership I’m sick of people saying they want to support the team we all do but that doesn’t have to mean financing Mike Ashley

    • Desree

      I will say it again. It is not money that hurts Ashley, it is pride.

      Imagine sky interviewing Ashley asking why the stadium is half full?
      The sad thing is Ashley is using the fans pride against them.

      Here is why people go to the game. So they can say they are better than Sunderland fans, or Manchester fans or who ever else.

      Regardless of how bad the team is. West Ham fans care more about their club so do Sunderland fans.

      No fans would put up with this, especially Rangers fans who are even more fanatical.