An empty stadium makes a statement.
Whether it is Stadion Kantrida in Rijeka, or St James Park in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Friday night saw Croatia take on England, no paying spectators allowed into the stadium, creating a very eerie atmosphere.
After problems of previous racist chanting at matches and a swastika symbol marked on the pitch, the Croatian fans are being punished, and of course the England supporters who wanted to see the match.
Watching England matches is bad enough at the best of times but this latest in a series of tedious friendlies…surely it should have been a relief for England fans that they weren’t allowed to view this goalless draw in the flesh. As for Newcastle fans, many of them want to see an empty St James Park for very different reasons.
Supporters who believe that a one-off boycott of a live televised home match is the natural progression of the protests against Mike Ashley’s running of Newcastle United.
It’s a tricky one because all Newcastle fans have their very own personal breaking point.
The harsh reality being that if Mike Ashley still owns Newcastle United in August 2019, there will be many more Newcastle fans regularly boycotting, regardless of who is the manager and which division the club is in by that point.
An empty, or even half empty, St James Park would be a spectacular and newsworthy event as a protest against Mike Ashley.
The two fan extremes would say ‘What’s the point?’ at one end of the spectrum and at the other ‘Anything is surely worth a try?’
What is for sure is that a club permanently in a state of civil war is guaranteed to struggle and equally sure, is that this civil war is destined to continue until the dictator is overthrown/sells up.
Mike Ashley is all about divide and rule in his business life and he’s been happy to extend that to his football club branch.
It has never worked though and now the negatives of it are being pointed back at him, the NUFC protests and online campaigns playing a part in the Sports Direct share price crashing by over 25% since mid-July. Which of course also pretty much wipes off a quarter of the paper value of Mike Ashley’s wealth.
When you are a billionaire it can take quite a drop before you start to feel the squeeze/pain, Mike Ashley ended his own personal 13 month boycott of Newcastle matches in September and has now been to three in a row.
It will take more than just Ashley and his minions to make up the numbers at St James Park unless he sells up.