“I divvent like to gan there…but the bairn needs new football boots”

The two Newcastle fans who sat next to me on my Metro this morning were not happy.

“Where’s aal the money goin?”

“Ashley is takin us for mugs man!”

“I’ve never even heard of the new lad.”

“Rafa will be away like.”

As we approached Monument station the disgruntled Mags stood up to leave the train and packed a rolled up newspaper into a Sports Direct bag for life. My sympathies turned to frustration.

This conversation will be repeated countless times over the coming days in the pubs, offices, factories and homes of Tyneside. This is the reality of another transfer window under Mike Ashley. One thing is now very clear despite the promises about winning trophies, investment and transfer budgets, to Mike Ashley we are nothing.

We are the pile of old clothes in your wardrobe that you meant to put on Ebay three years ago.

We are the unfinished jigsaw puzzle you slid under your sofa last Christmas.

We are the folded up exercise bike in the loft that hasn’t seen the light of day.

We are damaged goods, not wanted, a burden and a frustration.

We are not worthy of time or investment, we are for sale if the price is high enough.

Kangol, Everlast, Dunlop, Firetrap, Slazenger, Debenhams…. add the once great Newcastle United to the list of brands and companies that Ashley cares little about so long as they are churning out profit. You have as much chance of seeing LA Gear rise from the ashes and launch a range of luxurious, premium, air cushioned, climacool sports shoes as you are likely to see Newcastle United smash their transfer budget and fight for a trophy.

There’s a growing momentum at Newcastle, a wind of change is bringing together various supporter led factions that in previous seasons were drifting apart. Sections of the media appear to be siding with us, the likes of Pete Graves at Sky becoming a little more vocal in his condemnations of the Newcastle board. Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah has also stood up in Parliament to highlight our plight.

To the regular Newcastle fan who buys the shirt and attends the games, there is a feeling of frustration, but also helplessness. Fans don’t want to boycott the games. For many, a matchday is the highlight of the week that their social calendar is programmed around. “Vote with your feet” they tell us, well do so on Northumberland Street not at St James Park.

At the time of writing, Sports Direct profits have fallen and Ashley has forfeited this year’s salary and bonuses. Despite his £2.4 billion wealth and his position of 58th on the Sunday Times Rich List, this must hurt. He won’t miss the extra cash but Sports Direct is his baby, it’s his success story, it’s his Cinderella whilst Newcastle United are one of the many ugly sisters. Our club is his biggest advertising medium. Just look at our stadium, the Sports Direct/NUFC merchandise and the billboards around the ground.

“But the bairn needs new football boots”….. well shop online, visit another sports store, think about where you are spending your hard-earned cash.

Will the above actions result in Ashley going bankrupt and Newcastle being sold in a fire sale to a Russian tycoon who takes us to the Champions League final next season?  The answer is no.

Will you be less of a hypocrite than the grumbling Newcastle fan who carries a Sports Direct bag and wears a Karrimor tracksuit…. YES!

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  • Sickandtired

    Players to Ashley are no more meaningful than the socks he sells. He wants to buy cheap and sell high – despite the fact he’s rarely managed to achieve that in 11 years.
    Players are £ signs, nothing else, just like the club itself to him.

    • Kev Newcastle England

      Fans who buy HIS merchandise SICKEN me

  • Paul Patterson

    That’s part of the problem. I don’t advocate skipping matches as that hurts the team. But when you see fans criticising Ashley and all the while sat in their shiny new kit that they’ve paid £65 for from the club shop or SD, then you can’t help but wonder which brain cell they are using.
    I shop elsewhere. Apparently he’s made comment that he wants to ‘Hammer Amazon’.
    Ok, try that if you want. That’s where I’ll be shopping . .

    • Toon

      Says the season ticket holder, missing matches harms the team as much as sitting in the crowd singing anti Ashley songs or being bored into submission by the rubbish team

  • LEE

    in business it’s not about feeling or empathy, it’s asset or liabilities.
    everything Ashley does is for assets. A football club should in all reality be a huge liability, especially when in the big leagues, with the allusion that we might win something if only we spend more money. well it’s not going to happen for a long time, our time was in the 90s, and we blew it.
    he has turned a big liability into a huge asset for him.
    we just sit and suffer

    • Paul Patterson

      Two problems with that.
      He could actually spend some money when things are going well (I do remember SJH saying it’s important to spend when you’re on the up as well as when you’re doing poorly) Ashley hasn’t got round to the first bit.
      He has had two opportunities to push on in eleven years, after the 5th finish and now, he’s blown both by spending nowt.
      The second one is he could sell up..

      • LEE

        I totally agree. but in many ways it’s a cash cow for him.
        he is honest to himself, he believes he is doing right by the club.
        we see it on the flip side,

  • Toon

    Will you be a hypocrite who sits at the match, constantly whinging about the poor football, expensive tickets, SD direct advertising (I could go on). These types of season ticket holders are the biggest problem, massive moaners, writing articles, spreading their opinions on social media but first in the queue for tickets. I stopped going years ago and still watch every match with mates, the club will receive nothing from me while Ashley is there, he is laughing at you

    • Paul Patterson

      Not going to knock someone for not going, just as I’m not going to knock someone for going..

    • kingfisher

      My thoughts exactly Toon. It’s great to see the fans protesting outside his S.D shop this morning, but then to finish early so they can get to S.J.P beggars belief.
      Why not extend the protest to outside of SJP instead of going in? All hypocrites, spending 30 mins protesting then off to give Ashley their money.

      Let’s face it, they haven’t really put themselves out much or sacrificed anything as they would be in the town anyway as they were all going to SJP.
      Like you I made the ultimate sacrifice years ago when I realised that this man was destroying our club!

  • Mike

    So wots your point

  • TheFatController

    It’s just always the case that many people are weak willed.

    Proof? Obesity and its health problems.

    People go into denial. Why bother, it’s out of my hands? Why should I not have my little pleasures in life? I’ll start doing something about it next week? Someone else should be sorting it out anyway, why me?

    If you’ve never made any sacrifice in life for future benefit, you’re not going to do anything about Ashley. They are compulsive deniers. Ashley knows this and has no intention of selling therefore.

    The same people that buy his tatt will be sat in his stadium. They’re like a little club of ‘non-scarificers’ – it’s all about today, tomorrow can take care of itself …

    • kingfisher

      You’ve hit the nail fair and squarely on the head there Fat. There’s some who take action and some who don’t.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Take some action then. Why not buy him out? You’ve saved £6,000 by not going over 10 years, get together with fans and put that money into buying him out.

        • kingfisher

          I have taken action, having the courage of my convictions and not supporting this owner, unlike some who complain and moan about Ashley and his regime but still turn up at SJP and give him their money, unbelievable. If you go to SJP don’t complain !

          As for the £6,000, I’ve spent it on more pleasurable pastimes as opposed to donating it to the Mike Ashley Foundation!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            So it’s an empty gesture. You want him out, you have to have someone to buy him out .

            Why not get disgruntled fans together to put their money where their collective mouths are.

          • kingfisher

            Can’t understand how you can say stopping going to SJP and having a great day out which I’ve done for over 50 years, is an empty gesture bobbi. At least some of us are doing something, not complaining about Ashley and yet still going to SJP to supposedly
            ” support the team and not the regime “like some are. It’s just an excuse so that they don’t miss out on their 90 minutes!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s empty because your place has been taken.

            Put the money into buying the club and then you have a point.

  • Geordiegiants

    Honestly been saying this for ages. These are the ones creating the problem, YES it’s “YOUR” fault if “You” are give him any money for anything.

    • kingfisher

      Spot on Geordie !!

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Most of them post on here.

    Whaaaling Fannies

  • Vincent Gigante

    He gets my season ticket money and nothing else.
    Whistle when we win and gutted when we lose

    • FatParosite

      YOU are the problem….

      • ghostrider

        No, he’s not the problem. He’s the reason why Newcastle United are known for fan loyalty.

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Shoyte Direct is not the only shop that sells cheap tat.

    For the cerebrally challenged out there.

  • nufcslf

    This just shows the extent of the problem with not very bright, trendy football supporters or lost souls that just can’t see the damage it is doing. As ridiculous as it is…especially when it will end with another relegation…I almost find it amusing rather making myself ill with anger. Joke all the same.

  • Big Al 1967

    The only thing the FCB cares about is money. If you shop at Sports Direct you are putting food in the pigs trough
    BOYCOTT THE SHOP and the message will become loud and clear to him if his profits are effected. If you need trainers, boots or any sporting goods there are numerous outlets to get them from Please do not feed this parasite

    • ghostrider

      Boycott the shop and you stop people getting goods that they can afford.
      I’m sure Ashley would go out of business if his shops were boycotted in Newcastle…….NOT.

      • Big Al 1967

        Whatever troll.

        • ghostrider

          The word is epidemically easy to use. Saves you typing I suppose.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      The thing is, the stuff is good value. Decathlon ‘s own brand is poor quality in comparison.

  • Down Under Mag

    Saw some numpty pictured in the protests carrying a SD carrier bag – talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  • Leazes.

    Quote of the day

    ‘Sports direct is the only store I have ever gone in and feel the staff need rescuing’

    • ghostrider

      Most likely they would need rescuing from the wave after wave of moaners that stand at the till moaning about Ashley and yet spending money.

    • Mrkgw

      That quote is in the comments section of The Mail in an article about the rise of Ashleys son-in-law whereby he will play a key role in chosing which of the HOF stores will close.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Ha ha, Leazes’ reads the Daily Mail, beautiful!

  • ghostrider

    Certain fans are bemoaning others for being a problem for lining Ashley’s pockets by going to the game or buying his products and fail to see the problems they could create for themselves when they actually cut off their own noses to spite their faces.

    Ok let’s work it all out.
    Let’s say the moaners get their wish and intimidate enough fans to stay away from the club and his shops or buy anything at all that apparently aids Ashley.

    Let’s say the message sent out is massive and 1000 turn up to home games and none are season ticket holders because everyone was intimidated enough to follow suit of the bullies.

    So Ashley would cave in at this point and leave….right?
    Or you think he’ll hold his hands up and buy the fans the record breaking heroes, right?

    Let me explain what Ashley will do.
    He will claw every penny back and place this club in a position that befits Sunderland….or even lower.

    How would he do this?
    He would say ” right, seeing as we have no fans, we can’t pay high wages, so we’ll have to sell the best players and the high earners and replace them with youngsters and freebies on extreme low wages.”

    This will not only drop us down the leagues but it will also drop the asking price of the club, should Ashley decide to sell it.

    However…as Sunderland have proved, it doesn’t take long for a club to start to rebuild the fans as in the 31,000 Sunderland got for their home game in league one.
    This is exactly what would happen with Newcastle fans…only by this time the premier league will be a distant dream away and the excitement will be a concentration on winning whatever lower league we are in….or doing well.

    No more Ashley out protests by then because acceptance would be the order of the day.
    Ashley would have more than likely recouped a massive amount of money to cater for mass boycott and he could simply run the club on a real shoestring…but just enough to actually get the club playing at the top end of the lower leagues and gunning for the title of those leagues, whilst selling on any player that becomes a huge money target of some wannabe big club who feel paying big cash and wages is the way forward to playing with the elites.

    Club too big to be playing around the lower leagues?
    Ask the other big clubs if they are, because there’s plenty in them.
    And yes, I do mean big clubs.

    And strangely you rarely see those clubs getting into a frenzy over their owners…but you always see the odd moans about the usual “sack the board” or so and so out, as a pocket of resistance that is so mild as to be no more than a minor blip.

    Apparently this club has never been worse off.
    Fans can’t have took much notice of the financial part at the times before Ashley.
    In those times you got one trophy signing, monetary wise.
    A 15 million Shearer and a 17 million Owen.
    With oddments of a record breaking transfer record to bring Andy Cole to the club for £1.75 million for a player that was a gamble that paid off.
    Every time this was happening the club was being re-mortgaged, kind of thing.
    Or to put it plainly…cap in hand to the banks for more loans.

    But TV money of today and the basic intimidation created against clubs to spend the supposed handouts has crippled the game as a sport.
    It now caters for the elites and leaves the rest to be forced to spend to try and get some bragging rights as those clubs that once managed to hold onto the skirt of the runaway elites.

    Clubs intent on appeasing their own fans to try and create their own elite following and dreamy feel good factor, only to end up sunk at the bottom of the pool when the floats took on water instead of repelling it.

    And yet Newcastle United live to fight another season and have done for 11 years because one man saved it from actually playing among the lower leagues but made enough mistakes in that 11 years to have learned some of the biggest lessons an owner needs to learn when trying to appease fans.

    We’ve struggled in many respects but we’ve held our own, also.
    We’ve been relegated as a downside but also been championship title winners as a massive upside, regardless of whether some fans play it down

    Just remember the voices when we did go down.
    “We needed this because the OVERPAID players who cost good money, didn’t care about the club and we need to clear the decks of these mercenaries.”

    Anyone remember this?
    Those mercenaries were a direct result of spending money to get the best of the rest of what we couldn’t match the elites with.

    But we got back up with bread and butter and some loyalty to the cause, on both occasions.
    And here we are right now in the premier league with new players added to those that got us to 10th.

    What’s the real issue here?

    • Andy Mac

      Methinks he doth protest too much ?

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The group has 473 stores and Ashley could not give a flying f if a few people not shop in Northumberland Street. He will have a sale in Skegness and bring in even more people in. Have the Magpie Group bought the club yet nothing on the news this morning.

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    I bought a pot of protein mix at the weekend, still the best price on the high street.

    This article has reminded me to checkout my shopping bag online.

  • Andy Mac

    The trolls are out in force tonight ? Bottom line is we don’t need to bankrupt Fatso we just have to make the brand toxic enough and the Fat Fkr will cave in