When I set up my season ticket for this year, the guy in the box office asked me my postcode. The box office was pretty packed with black and white so I felt very sheepish when I had to reply ‘SR4’, being a student at Sunderland Uni it was a bit of an awkward moment for me and definitely a faux pas in the north east.

I’m also a Tory, another big faux pas in the north east, like my postcode in the box office, it’s something I feel a little awkward talking about. Now I don’t want to start talking politics or having some political battle because that’s ridiculous….but I do view the world differently to most of my peers in the North East, so I want you to keep that in mind while you read my thoughts on how to solve a problem like Mike Ashley.

Step 1:

Hold yourself and your friends and family to account.

Let’s be real for a minute. We are nothing to Mike Ashley.

Nothing but a cash cow that is. He doesn’t regard the passion of the fans, or the desire to watch better football, or even just how satisfied we’d be if we finished mid-table again but had a decent cup run. His only concern is the money we put in his pocket.

This is the first point where me being a Tory is something that influences how I view everything – your money is your vote. I personally have no issues with people buying tickets to the matches because we shouldn’t be budged from OUR seats supporting OUR club to accommodate him but at every single match the queue for the concessions is brimming with fans paying inflated prices for food and drinks.

My friend was thirsty so he bought a bottle of pop at the Leicester game for £2.80. Does anyone seriously think Mike Ashley is bothered by the ‘you fat cockney wa..er’ or ‘sports direct is f…ing sh..’ chants when he’s shifting thousands of bottles of coke for a 100% mark up every home game, knowing if you were smart you’d just take the extra 5-10 minutes before the match and pick one up in town.

That’s just bottles of pop, think about all the other food and drinks loyal fans are buying for almost double the price you can get them in town. Our money is our vote and our vote is saying we’re ok with the situation.

Getting scalped on tickets is one thing but getting scalped on extras too? We must all be mad. Your money is your vote so hold yourself and the people you go to the match with to account. If you see someone you know going to the concession at half time at the Brighton match, let them know you’re disappointed and remind them to eat and buy a drink in town instead.

Step 2:

Whatever we do – we do it with purpose.

So we’re going to stop buying food and drink at the stadium. There’s a hundred or so smaller businesses in the town we’d rather give a boost to than Mike Ashley so we spread our money out around the city rather than into Mike Ashley’s pocket.

As well as denying Ashley money, we’re also boosting smaller businesses around town. I can’t think of any situation where this isn’t good for the region in general and that’s a good purpose.

On top of that, we can use the savings from buying our food and drink elsewhere. Say every fan out of 52,000 saved a quid by going elsewhere. That’s £52,000 we can spend on removing this scourge from our club. Over 19 home matches in a season that’s £988,000. That’s plenty of funding for banners and organisation of a movement against Ashley as well as £988,000 we keep off his balance sheet, we just lack the discipline and purpose to make it happen.

I admire Chi Onwurah’s passion for the club and for the city, but I can’t really think of a purpose of trying to get the government to stand up for us, when we’re capable of standing up for ourselves with a bit of discipline. No disrespect to Chi Onwurah, but the realisation that no government would ever stand up for me was the reason why I changed my views in the first place and I’m not even against her lending her ear and her support and doing what she can, it’s just the reality that outside of this city, it will fall on deaf ears.

That’s why I think we should change our attitude towards the situation. I’ve heard so many people question how we could ever take on a billionaire and to the doubters my only question is whether you have faith in yourself and the people around you, because if we take him on and we do it with purpose, we will win. All we must do is hit him where it hurts and don’t give him extra money.

Step 3:

Think outside the box.

I moved to the North East when I was 10 and became a Newcastle fan. I know a lot of you reading this were born Geordies and you might want to make a distinction or say I’m not a real Geordie but I was raised a Newcastle fan and I love the club, the city and fans with all my heart.

Coming from Scotland I was a Celtic fan and what happened to Rangers was the worst thing ever to happen to Scottish football. So many of my childhood friends and family looked on in glee as Rangers died but it’s made Celtic worse for the experience with less money coming into Scottish football from European competition.

I remember at the time Rangers staff seeking help from other clubs like Hearts to hold a charity match to help them raise funds and they refused. We shouldn’t let the same thing happen in the North East.

At Sunderland uni, SAFC were at the freshers events offering tickets to students for a tenner to try to get people in the door. We shouldn’t kick them while they’re down but reach out to them because Tyne Wear Derbies are good for the region.

Sunderland are asking fans to help them fit new seats and I’ve actually volunteered to go along on one of my days off because the rivalry is the rivalry but some things go beyond that.

A load of Geordies protesting outside sports direct on Northumberland street is par for the course. Imagine how Ashley would be thinking if we managed to convince a load of mackems to protest outside sports direct in Sunderland. That’s a mental win for us and I’d help them fit their seats for that, I’d even buy a ticket to one of their matches for that. I’m not sure how likely I’d be to actually sit through one of their matches though!

Step 4:

Get off the internet!

The internet is fantastic for getting a message out quickly but at the end of the day, people are still convinced by a smile, a handshake and a friendly chat than by endless social media posts about any subject.

That’s not to say the internet doesn’t have it’s uses but really every single one of us needs to speak to the guy who sits next to us and ask him what he’s doing. Get to know the people in your section and network in real life.

At that point when it comes to organising an event or a protest, you’re not just some faceless social media person at the other end of a computer. You’re a real person that someone actually knows and might feel comfortable going along with and the internet supplements our efforts to get the message out.

Step 5:

Don’t do anything stupid.

I’ve seen talk of fans wanting to arrange a walkout when there’s a televised match. You’ve already paid for your season ticket so he already has your cash. Do you honestly think he cares?

The PR stunt of taking the team and the staff out for dinner while everyone was in town at the protest meet up was a prime example. He’ll just find a way to spin it, it’ll be inconvenient but he’ll manage as he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

Step 6:

Do something stupid

I know it’s a little bit confusing given step 5 but do something stupid. I read an idea on The Mag of throwing toilet rolls on the pitch. Yeah it’s dubious but it gets it off our chest and more importantly, it gets it off our chest in a funny way. Even when the games aren’t televised it’ll still be shown on match of the day. The quid we saved by buying a drink elsewhere is enough to get a toilet roll and bring it to the match and throw it around. If it’s happening at every home game, it’s a lot harder to spin.

Lets use some of the money we saved to get some banners we can put up all over the stadium over the sports direct boards. He likes his free advertising so if we cover it with our own messages it gets his attention because again, he’s losing money. If someone stops us, just hang your coat over the boards instead. If anyone asks just say you’re hot so you took it off.

In terms of banners, let’s do the same thing. Be more upbeat and funny instead of the angry ‘ashley out’ that everyone already knows about. Imagine if we somehow managed to cover every sports direct board with a JD sports banner? It pokes him directly in the eye and football fans up and down the country would be laughing at him as well as applauding our sense of humour.

Point is, no one likes angry protestors, it’s intimidating to people outside of the protest and harms the cause. Let’s not be angry shouty mad people let’s be daft geordies and full of fun. It speaks to the character of Newcastle and shows who we are as a city and it shows we have the moral high ground.

Mike Ashley is used to the fans being angry at him. I’d personally rather someone be angry at me than laugh at me. Let’s mock him at every opportunity we get.

Did you see the Trump Balloon in London? Let’s get one of those made of Mike Ashley wearing lingerie and heels (I know how disgusting that image is) and fly it around town (looking to Chi Onwurah to help sort permissions and stuff out.) Let’s change the dynamic so when he comes where he’s not welcome he’s not faced with abuse, but mockery, because the man is below contempt.

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  • Waxi

    Just keep on doing what we have been doing as the FCB is starting to sweat now. He or the press contradict everything that has been said or printed the day before. Example, Ashley has reduced the price to 300 million, He asked Kenyon to make a bid, Ashley told the players at the meal last night he is not going to sell this year. For gods sake stop believing all we read as 99.9% is bull and keep up the protests and pressure as that looks more likely to get us the result we want.

    • graham18

      Totally agree.With you on that one

    • Peaco

      Tend to agree likewise, although I do like the idea of covering up the sd hoardings. I also think the not spending cash at concessions is a good shout – irrespective of whether it goes directly to Ashley or not, the (1) not paying over the odds is common sense and (2) it reduces future revenue streams for Ashley making the club a less attractive asset for him to rinse….

      • Waxi

        Peaco, I never spend anything in the ground EVER. I buy my ticket and that’s it.

        • Viru leckworth

          At the risk of sounding like a snowflakeWaxi, Me Too!

      • Marc

        OP here. Thanks for the common sense comment 😂

    • Phildene

      And do we believe the players and Rafa were actually at this meal in Ponteland?? I phoned the restaurant and was told no comment when asking

  • Themoscow72

    First of where do I start. Your first two points mention withholding spending money in the ground. Will that hurt Ashley the answer is no. Not a penny goes to Ashley as Sodexo have a long term contract which is paid for up in advance. So while you maybe at University a little research would come in handy. I spend nearly twenty five pounds a game on Carling and not a penny goes to the club. Next Sunderland fans are loving the protests as you are doing their job for them by causing disharmony at the club. They are loving every minute of this so protesters well done for making them happy and you to as you seem to have a soft spot for them.
    The next two points may surprise you. While a couple of thousand fans may stand up and sing that Ashley if fat and is from London and has no legal mother but the other forty six thousand fans are there to watch the match and support their team.
    The likes of you ruin their day or perhaps their week as all they want to do is have a good day and support the lads.
    Lastly your worst comment of all. Throwing things on the pitch. Now how would the players feel about that I am sure it would be great for their confidence and bring the best out of them. It would also be on camera and would lead to a banning order so a non starter. Support the team it’s your duty.

    • East Durham Mag

      So you advocate doing nothing. Righto whatever.

    • Kenny

      Vermin troll

      • Themoscow72

        We are mates not trolls.

    • Marc

      OP here. If you spend 25 quid on calling on a matchday and think Ashley makes nothing you’re deluded.

      The suggestion of throwing toilet paper was not my own but a suggestion I read an an article written by someone else on the mag.

      Like I said it’s a dubious idea but could be effective.

    • Mike D

      The football should be enough to ruin their day. No progress and no hope in 11 years of under investment.

    • Toon

      Idiot! Sodexo pay money based on the revenue generated and profits they can make, they don’t do it for fun, the more spent at the tills the more the contract is worth to Ashley. I can’t believe people still spend money in the ground, it’s a losing battle this as too many fans aren’t committed to change, happy to grumble but won’t do anything. 50,000 go to the match and how many protest outside? 500??

  • mactoon

    “If you see someone you know going to the concession at half time at the Brighton match, let them know you’re disappointed and remind them to eat and buy a drink in town instead”

    I don’t agree with this, by all means don’t buy anything but let’s not go putting pressure on anyone else. It’s their choice and the last thing we need is arguments amongst the fans cos that’s what this will lead to.

    • Marc

      OP here.

      I get what you’re saying and I understand where you’re coming from but I say it because were all looking for the same thing and move in the same direction united to get it.

  • MadMag83

    Ashley is making enough money from your tickets to not worry about a few people bringing their own Cola. Besides, if enough people were to bring in drinks Ashley would just ban them from doing so, like they do at the O2.

    Boycott his stores, boycott the ground.

  • Tweed Mag

    Some good suggestions – Ashley is fast turning in to a joke, so lets help him along. Concentrating on his abysmal management of the club is better than highlighting his appearance and his birthplace.

  • Kenny

    Step 1, Don’t f##king go, Nufc can’t operate without the season ticket money.
    Step 2, laugh at the Fat Rat, get out of that 1 scum bag

    • Viru leckworth

      Unfortunately they can operate without the support of the fans. Odious profit in transfer windows and tv money sees to that.

      • Kenny

        No they can`t, last month a study of all the premiership clubs found that only 10 clubs in the premiership can survive without the fans,
        Newcastle is not one of them

        • Ashley-out

          right

      • Ashley-out

        wrong

    • BanJones

      I’ll ask the club if I can have a refund on the money of mine that they already have but I think I know what their response will be. I could not go and leave my seat empty as an empty lonely gesture but that isn’t going to happen. I regret buying the ticket now but hey ho we all make mistakes – mine was crediting a Billionaire with a little bit of common sense. Demonstrate then cheer the lads on that has to be my position now.
      I know you don’t like that Kenny but you will get over it in time.

      • Ashley-out

        Neither do i like it because you keep giving the parasite money and the club never benefits from it, demonstrate then go,
        utter nonsense.

        • BanJones

          He’s already got my money.

  • BigHairyDog

    Embarrassing Ashley at every opportunity is the way to go, followed by covering up SD signs and doing everything that hurts SD profits and share price. The way things are going Ashley himself will help by embarrassing himself just like he’s done in the last 48 hours. The advertising van driven around needs to be bigger, that costs money so we need some sort of fund set up, then park it in front of SD shops in the area.

    • Kenny

      What is embarrassing is watching 50,000 attend St James Park and the
      Rat sitting in the stands laughing his head off as he rips off the club
      year in, year out.

      • Marc

        OP here. 100% agree

  • Leazes.

    Ashley gets the same amount of payment from Sodexo regardless of the amount sold, so your first premise is wrong! You are denying Sodexo not Ashley. It doesn’t alter anything. Sodexo’s business is largely prison catering….prisoners at less than National minimum wage contribute to Sodexo’s profits…and make the pies.

    You say ‘the point is nobody likes angry protester’…. bad exploiters certainly don’t!
    and tories hate the pyramid being toppled at any time regardless of the decency or morality of the owner. Tories don’t even like democracy, for your creed it’s a means to an end, and that end is keeping the status quo, conservatism doesn’t like change…..it didn’t like those angry protesters the suffragettes either!

    You advocate communication with people who don’t communicate… people who brief journalists to spin lies…. well we’ve been communicating with some of them in a civil manner and asking questions of them…..and it has had an effect…. not everyone is proud to get themselves banned by twitter for verbal abuse of Bishop and his posse of tory liars….some will wear it as a badge of honour.

    Toryism is the creed which has enveloped the club since the end of the war, it’s been the driving ideology of failure here, a pyramidal structure of arrogant owners, that Shackleton despised, in it for themselves, big fish in a small pond mentality!

    Then later we moved through the arrogance and self satisfaction of the Tory Westwood the Tory John Hall, who appointed the Tory Keegan (We did enjoy the Cavalier Tories though however briefly Gascoigne included) but it would fail as interest from Hall waned. It was a break away from the stoically conservative mindset and now we have moved back to the new Westwood…. the extremely right wing exploiter and moral less and gormless Ashley …..who is even despised by you tories!

    Other clubs moved away from the conservative pyramid model for society and prospered for it, Man United Liverpool, and others but we have been stuck with it, guarded jealously by yeoman infantry of the chronicle themselves steeped in the same dated back-slapping conservatism! Ashley’s Army! Sergeant Douglas and private Ryder jump to the call of Bishop!

    Most of your points are pure nonsense…Get ON the internet is the message…. go for Ashleys concerns, make a fuss….the one thing only I agree with is to make sure your family and friends know the issues, and don’t buy from his stores or online!

    I’ve looked to find a ‘Marc Beaton’ born in Scotland…. nothing with that name, so I’m, a little sceptical and think you ,may be that other tory….Simon Van der Velde

    Follow your advice and we really will be beaten!

    • Viru leckworth

      Much of your criticism seems to come from the fact that he says he is a Tory. His ambitions to dispose Ashley are the same as yours. Have some respect.

      • Leazes.

        No its because his solutions are purely the product of the tory mindset…. Ashley is despised by nearly every group you can imagine including the CBI the IOD….. its like asking a abattoir worker his views on vegetarianism.

        • Marc

          So the solutions being the product of a Tory mindset is a bad thing?

          You’re not judging my ideas on whether they’d… Work to achieve the cause?

          • Leazes.

            yes….they are nonsense!

    • Sickandtired

      Leazes, WTF? Are you needing sugar or something?

      • Kenny

        u fokin wot m8
        😂😂

    • DeadToiler

      Agree Leases, well said

    • FatParosite

      I applaud every word of this…

  • JohnnyH

    Disagree on one major point.
    The government should stand up for us and football supporters across the country. Reform football.
    £2.4 BILLION this season to twenty club owners to improve the game.
    No requirements for them to say what they’re doing with it.
    Opaque accounting and corruption is self evident, but being a Tory I don’t expect you to see that.
    Watching last weeks conference farce, everything’s going swimmingly.
    But that’s another argument.

    • Leazes.

      Democratise football with fan ownership and participation, stakeholders not customers, has to be the goal for all fans…. it would end the silence from a disrespectful board.

      • Marc

        OP here. It already is a democracy. Your money is your vote and if you keep spending money on it, it’ll never change.

        As far Ashley is concerned his profit sheet is proof that the fans like his product.

        • Leazes.

          Problem is many like me have already walked and he can keep going doing what he’s doing because with a conurbation this size in this modern era….the stadium is undersized…..it renders the point you made null…. the objective is to remove the tyranny not just the individual.

        • Superdooperhooper

          Contradicting yourself there Marc. You’re the one buying season tickets. If you keep feeding the animal he’s not going to leave is he?

  • Sickandtired

    Chi Onwurah – “Maybe this campaign will make him more entrenched and stubborn.” But the alternative is to do nothing. I’ve spent the last five years not P’n him off and it’s got us nowhere,” she said. “I don’t see how P’n him off can be worse.”

    Here, here!

  • Carverlier football

    A bit of a mish mash of good ideas and terrible advice there…

    • Leazes.

      Where was the good idea…. must have missed it?

      • Dillon Tovak

        Not spending money in the stadium is a start, but the rest was kind of dumb. Throw toilet roll on the pitch? Unless Ashley himself has to clear it up, I can’t see how that is helpful. It’s not gonna help the players on match day and innocent staff who have jobs just because they need one have to clear it up.

      • Carverlier football

        Covering SD advertising (as a principle) and not giving Ashley money, which I think you picked up on yourself. There may have been something else but I’m not going to re-read the article…

    • FatParosite

      It’s written like a Tory manifesto. Poor ideas garbled & incoherarent mixed messages with things we want to hear…. He should be in Brussels right now…

      • Carverlier football

        Well not entirely – there’s not too much in there about screwing over the most vunerable people in society…

  • Alex

    Amongst some dubious comments and silly ideas, I do happen to think that the idea of an ‘Ashley blimp’ is a bit of a corker!!

    As well as the shoes and lingerie, some green puke flowing from his gob wouldn’t go amiss.

    Someone kick it off – Id be happy to chuck a tenner into a pot for that.

  • Ashley-out

    Die, problem solved

  • Colin Brumwell

    I suppose we could get Corbyn to demand nationalisation the Premier League and issue free tickets to every game to all paid up TUC members thereby ensuring no owners make a profit

    • Leazes.

      No but you could look at clubs in which fans play a part and aren’t just taken as mugs!

    • JohnnyH

      I wouldn’t begrudge an owner taking a profit out of the club, if that same owner invested in the club as intended by the PL ; in the youth set up, Ground and training facilities, quality player recruitment, and most of all competing rather than hanging on every season.
      You can’t excuse what Ashley’s doing.

  • panther

    7.62

  • East Durham Mag

    No Panther mate a “Ma Deuce” no doubts then.

  • Tino11

    When will some people realise that an empty stadium is not about the season ticket money or money made from tickets sold on the day. There is a financial aspect to it but that is not the main reason for the course of action being taken.

    The main reason an empty stadium is vital, even if it’s only for the first 5 minutes is because it will become a worldwide sports news item. The EPL is beamed out live to nearly every devloped country in the world, with countless highlight programs, video uploads snd websites.

    An empty St James’ Park, even just for 5 mins, will turn out to be a worldwide sports story, people will want to know why the fans have decided to take this action. You could actually have an empty stadium bar 5-10 people in each stand holding up a banner with an Ashley Out line of some sort.

  • Martin

    I never heard of a Celtic fan who voted Conservative.