We need to do something about Mike Ashley but we don’t want another miners strike.

I didn’t attend last night’s Magpie Group event but I respect their enthusiasm and the fact they are actually trying to do something about our predicament. I have to say though that I am a little disappointed at the outcome to the meeting. To me it’s more of a list than an action plan.

Going into something controversial requires thorough and strong democratic leadership.

My concern is that we go into things half-cocked, for example there is a real desire to stage demonstrations, walk outs and non-attendance. What you have to ask yourself though is, what impact would those actions really have?

Many people think a huge boycott in front of Sky TV cameras would have a massive impact, would it? I think the idea has foundation but the time isn’t right. The reason – you need the audience primed otherwise we could fall on deaf ears and subjected to the pundits who hate us, step forward Wise, Souness, Keys and Redknapp.

I am no general or strategist, other than how I’m going to get out of doing the housework, but I do have a bit of experience in these matters. To have any interaction with the public we need a united front, an action plan with a timescale.

Firstly, we need to win the media war, at present Shearer is a lone high profile voice but that has to change. We need to get influential people to further the cause.

At present the best protest in the world would bring cynicism and half truths from those very pundits that we want to shut up. We may never win them over but we could get their platform taken away. There is a big need to shake Sky up somehow. If widespread cancellations in our area came about, it could make them think.

We have to ask ourselves, why are we shown more than some in the top six?

I think it’s because we are perceived as a top club and we are big news, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Some people are just loving this of course.

What about Mike Ashley?

Personally, I think he craves the attention, good or bad. After all there is no such things as bad publicity when it comes to advertising. To be infamous gets undeserved attention but attention nonetheless. He may even see the whole thing as a triumph. I think he is at war with us already. Break the fans, break the club, divide and conquer.

So I’m not saying don’t ignore the situation or ignore the to do list, I’m just saying have a proper strategy.

As things stand, our protests are being criticised and belittled. Then again we are the most difficult, demanding, unrealistic, deluded, unappreciative fans in the world…

We need more people onside before doing anything. Will it matter what people think anyway? Should we be trying to convince a potential buyer rather than protest?

There is a strategy needed, not a list of actions in no particular order, that I do know and I don’t know much.

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  • Ron

    That was really helpful, what we’ve got is not enough just a list, what we should have is….. eh don’t know.
    Great I get on with it straight away, what am I doing again?

    • Lostprofit DBC

      An order of priorities for a start. A leader would help too. Go in instinctively and we will look foolish.

      • Superdooperhooper

        Only sheep need a leader. We need a consensus of opinion to boycott the next live sky game . Anything else is a waste of time

        • Lostprofit DBC

          Who is going to do the organising then? What will constitute enough agreement, how will it be publicised? Not another shambles please. You also need local celebrities behind it and someone to challenge the undoubted criticism that Sky will arrange. You need to win the PR war.

  • Kenny

    Most people who have sky are under contract so you just cannot cancel when you want, so that one is in the bin. direct action against the Fat Rats shops & a desolate stadium would have an impact, believe it

    • Lostprofit DBC

      People with season tickets are also under a contract surely? Why should they be the only ones to suffer.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    I agree with the sentiment but how many of these groups have we had that have went nowhere ?
    Last nights latest meeting was another classic example of how these groups are nothing more than debating shops and platforms for people to vent their spleen against Ashley.

    It’s like the Billy Connolly joke about goods ideas starting off in parliament in particular “The Dangerous Dog” charter from the very early 1990’s where they were looking at what could be done with breeds like American Pit Bulls and Akita’s etc
    They start off all “Gung -Ho” with ministers shouting for them to be shot or have their nether regions removed etc
    It starts as a good idea then it goes through parliament, Legislation and everything else then comes through the other side as a shadow of it’s former self.
    So what started off as : Lets Shoot Them Or Hack Off Their Nether Regions becomes, “We Register Them At The Post Office” !

    These groups end up being no different where they start off as all fire and brimstone but in the end are wetter than a weekend in Scunthorpe !
    If anything is going to be done then it will have to be something extreme and people may have to end up being prepared to get arrested a la The Suffragettes Movement.

    Look at last nights first meeting where they couldn’t even agree on how to effectively boycott the club.
    To me it is very easy and people have been banging on about it for some time but no one has the stomach to do what is necessary !

    • FatParosite

      So you see the light..?. you know something we all don’t know…?. criticise without posing a single solution. Not helpful or insightful.

    • Sickandtired

      Where you there? Nah, but on here telling people what you want them to do. Try voting with your feet instead of your keyboard.

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        I have voted with my feet by not going to any matches because that is the only thing you can do.

  • panther

    7.62 should do the trick

    • Kenny

      Or a 5.56

      • panther

        5.56 never get through his 7th chin

  • Steve Smith

    “We have to ask ourselves, why are we shown more than some in the top six?”

    We have all the strengths of both being a big and a small club.

    We have a large fan base and are a big name that still draws attention, but through malevolence are in a weak enough state that we are expected to get beaten frequently.

    Neutrals revel in big clubs suffering.

  • Come&TakeIt1836

    It seems to me that there are positive tactics and negative tactics. Most of what I have heard discussed are negative tactics… boycotts, parliamentary readings, public marches, etc. These things do not do much against the current regime and probably do not do much to encourage a new regime to come. Who wants to buy into an angry mob?

    Furthermore, the majority of the club’s revenues come from the tv deals and not the game day gates. Figuring that season ticket monies are already in the till, boycotts are symbolic but not impactful. Cash flow would be hindered slightly but nothing that can’t be worked around. Ultimately, transfer kitties are all that are impacted.

    Why doesn’t the group elevate their efforts and work to interface with investors and woo them to town… Determine the gaps to their buying the club and help overcome those gaps as they are able. This helps filter new investors so we hopefully don’t trade one bad apple for another. Find other positive tactics to initiate change. This is where the opportunity lies.

    At a secondary level, the negative tactics need to be in areas that other investors would not likely deal with… don’t make the issue NUFC. Make the issue legal working conditions and wages at Sports Direct or something broader that speak to humane (meaning a generally bi-partisan level) issues that a wide populace across the country (not just NUFC fans) can relate to and support. When the glare of club ownership impacts his primary business(es), then change will begin to occur… and maybe hopefully people’s lives are also made better which would be an even better first purpose.

    • Carverlier football

      Unfortunately it’s pointless trying to woo potential investors because Ashley has no interest in selling. So the actions have to be “negative” as he needs to be encouraged to be a motivated seller

      • Come&TakeIt1836

        Adequate funds will get him interested in selling. If he has put a price tag on the club of £400M, then he is willing to negotiate and sell it for probably £380M give or take… depends on the exact terms of payment, whether he could keep his ads up, etc. If an investor is only willing to pay £350M, maybe the fans or local businesses work to close the gap. It is much more than money and I’m not saying it is easy but I think it could be done with the right leadership and effort.

        • Lostprofit DBC

          Totally agree, that’s why I mentioned in my article about attracting an investor and not just demonstrating. We need a few brains behind the campaign.

        • Carverlier football

          He has put a deliberately inflated price tag on the club because he doesn’t want to sell. Nobody will pay that much, given they’d then owe him another £114m on top of that and have to invest a fortune on badly neglected facilities and infrastructure. Ashley has to be encouraged to sell.

          • Sickandtired

            £114 million for what?

            If you mean the £144 million of his ‘loans’ then that would be within the sale price. It’s a fantasy number anyway as more than £45 million of that is for the St James expansion mortgage, which would have been paid off by now.

            £33 million added in December 2016, despite the fact he personally got £18 million of it.

  • JohnnyH

    The supporters of the club have to make their presence a constant thorn in the side of Ashley and the Premier League.
    If a few thousand fans Keep asking the PL if they think Ashley is a ‘fit and proper’ person to run the club, ask is there a possibility some of the TV money could have gone into buying the House of Fraser?
    I don’t care how many trolls on here try to prove otherwise, he’s blatantly asset stripping the club and moving money out of the club.
    Only the supporters of NUFC can make them stop turning a blind eye.

    • Lostprofit DBC

      We need to be clever about it though. Bedsheets and small, disappointing rallies are pointless.

    • mactoon

      Pointless raising the fit and proper person question because it only relates to someone who intends to buy a club and addresses areas such as bankruptcy, money laundering and disqualification from being a company director. Nothing about how they run the club once they have bought it.

  • mactoon

    The Magpie Group website still hasn’t been updated since the 17th August, last nights meeting wasn’t advertised on the site prior to it taking place and no update in terms of how many attended or what happened has been uploaded since. If you are going to start a movement and expect people to join it, at least start from the front and advertise, update and keep momentum going.

  • Damon Horner

    Protests are a message to an owner about an owner who has no interest in selling. Can’t see it working. He is making money and has no conscience, he’s attracted and dealt with negative publicity also.

    History shows if we’re relegated he will invest the cash and add to his “loan”, he will then (and has started) making us financially aligned to the division we’re in.

    If we go down the leagues, we become THE big club. A manager will be appointed to assemble players who will feel lucky to be here.

    I don’t anything will rid us of him unless the cash is laid on the table. You’re right as well Steve, if protests are to happen they need to be led stronger and be more sensible about how and when they happen.

    • Sickandtired

      Give over, man. His ‘addition’ to his loans after relegation 2 amounted to £15 million, for operating costs. His first priority was to pay himself back £18 million and add the total £33 million to the ‘debt’.
      If he can’t support a world class Manager in the PL then why the F do you think he’ll be any different lower down the food chain?

      • Damon Horner

        He won’t back the manager in any special way, we’d work within our means but our means are more than Fleetwoods.

        We won’t be crippled, he’s making sure of that now. I’m not supporting him, just reckon it’s a myth he’d want to leave if we go down the league’s, even deep.

  • mactoon

    I think the focus of the Magpie Group should be attracting interest of potential purchasers by promoting the benefits of owning the club, the potential, the fans, the one city club aspect and so on. Recruit the celebrities who can speak out about how the club should be run and how Ashley is dragging us back, Steve Howey was a good start in dispelling the myth that Ashley is doing a good job and that we are just deluded fans. But we need more.

    I can’t help wondering if demonstrations would put off potential buyers.


    The best strategy may be to use his regular Free Sky Sports advertising to the Fans advantage. He likes matches to be broadcast live as it is a free platform to advertise his Sports Direct Brand. Fans having banners and flags that criticise Sports Direct when the cameras are rolling might, influence him more than anything else, particularly when coupled with protests outside Sports Direct Shops etc..
    If his free adverting or Share Price was affected would he still want to hang on to a Club where most Fans hate him? Don’t boycott Matches – attend them and protest about Sports Direct in a ‘civilised way’ in front of the cameras.

  • Jamie Smith

    The Magpie Group offered an option to send in suggestions for anyone who wasn’t able to attend the meeting and they are organising a follow up. I would strongly suggest all ideas go through them as an organised medium as any counter arguments or splinter groups are playing into Ashley’s hands.