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Opinion

Newcastle fans protesting have to remember the 80/20 rule

6 months ago
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Newcastle fans launched their latest protest on Saturday afternoon.

The previous two home games had seen well attended protests outside the Sports Direct store on Northumberland Street.

Before the Arsenal kick-off though, it was the only remaining club (Sports Direct) shop that was targeted.

The Newcastle fanbase asked to join those organising the protest, to make clear what they think of Mike Ashley and his running (into the ground) of Newcastle United.

I was there supporting the protests and I thought it went really well.

Great organisation and Newcastle fans making sure this issue stays on both the local and national agenda.

We aren’t going away and this time there really is no alternative to Mike Ashley at last selling up.

This Sunday morning I have seen some excellent coverage and images of the protests, all good stuff.

However, I have seen a growing number of NUFC fans/protesters getting frustrated that not everybody feels the same as they do,or at least not as passionately anyway.

Don’t let it get you down, nobody said it was going to be easy.

This is a super rich multi-billionaire who is desperate to keep hold of the football club, it plays a key part in his retail empire and wealth increasing.

When trying to gather ever more support for the protests, Newcastle fans have to remember the 80/20 rule.

Whatever your cause, no matter how just and obvious, there will be those who will be swimming in the opposite direction. It is just life.

For those of us who were around in the Kevin Keegan management (first time) era, the team could win 5-1 and yet inside SJP and in the pub afterwards, there were still a small minority who would only want to talk about the goal that had been conceded, not the victory and the five goals Newcastle had scored. A bit like those clowns who still say Kevin Keegan ‘lost’ the Premier League in 1995/96, the reality of course was that he performed miracles in taking a team heading into the third tier in 1992, into one that only four years later went head to head with Man Utd and failed by just a whisker to win the Premier League.

Back to today and the protests against Mike Ashley.

Don’t get angry or frustrated with those who can’t see, or don’t want to see, that now is the time to do everything we can to get rid of the NUFC owner.

newcastle fans

Concentrate on the positives and keep on trying to persuade everybody that anything is possible if enough people come together.

However, that DOES NOT mean everybody. Reality is that this doesn’t happen, ever, anywhere.

I always remind people of the 80/20 rule in this situation.

Basically, you have to accept that in most circumstances, there will be 20% or so of people who you will never convince. The message is, there’s no need to stress about this, it is just how it is.

Instead, you have to concentrate on the overwhelming number who do agree, or who are prepared to be convinced. These are the 80% or more who will join with you and try to make things happen.

Having been involved in similar before, I know how hard it is to keep going. The last thing you need is people telling you it is all a waste of time, or even worse, that you are wrong.

The issue for a lot of the Newcastle fans who don’t agree with the anti-Mike Ashley protests, is that in their eyes, they see any protest being against the club they love. They don’t like to see any (more) negativity attached to NUFC. They may well hate Mike Ashley but they just don’t want to see  crowds protesting outside St James Park, or even worse, suggesting they don’t/can’t go and watch their team play.

Protesting fans just have to carry on and concentrate on those of a like mind, work together and don’t worry about those who aren’t going to help.

Fifty thousand fans all have their own idea on who should be in the team, so why should it be any more simple when it comes to club politics?

A one match boycott of a live TV home match has to be on the agenda. Early October will see the live TV matches for December and January announced. Very quickly a game has to be agreed upon and fans invited to join that one game boycott, announce it early before match by match tickets go on sale and before anybody books/pays for travel and accommodation.

I think there is every chance that we could get St James Park half full, maybe even down as low as 20,000 inside it.

Not quite an 80/20 but if that was achieved then it would be a massive message to Mike Ashley, yes maybe 20,000 inside St James Park BUT 30,000 having stayed away (in effect many many more because thousands of Newcastle fans have already stopped going because of Ashley).

It isn’t about convincing every Newcastle supporter, it is about convincing enough that will make the difference.
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