The Newcastle v Wolves boycott was always going to provoke a lively debate.

The bottom line is that you have Newcastle fans who wouldn’t miss a home match no matter what the circumstances were.

Whilst similarly, at the other end of the spectrum we have many Newcastle supporters who have already walked away and won’t go to a single game at St James Park until Mike Ashley sells up.

The rest of us are in the middle.

For the Newcastle v Wolves boycott to be a success you don’t need a completely empty stadium.

That would be great but it is not reality.

As for what does equal success…it is impossible to put an exact figure on it, because just like the idea of the boycott itself, everybody will have their own opinion.

Also, don’t think any of this is easy, it would be astounding if say 20,000+ stayed away from the Wolves match, pretty much unprecedented at any major English club in the Premier League era as far as I’m aware.

Which other Premier League club that gets 50,000+ every home match has ever had a big one-off boycott? The fact that 10,000 or so well-off Arsenal fans regularly just don’t bother turning up for most games does not count!

The biggest supported Premier League clubs are all massively made up of season ticket holders and Newcastle is no exception.

It isn’t like back in the 70s and 80s when nearly all of us just paid match by match.

I see a lot of Newcastle fans doing our fanbase down over the supposed failure to support protests, making out as though we are the poor relations of other clubs, when it comes down to planning and being united.

I especially see plenty of NUFC fans going on about the success of Liverpool supporters in getting rid of Hicks and Gillett.

I love going to Liverpool as a city and have generally got on pretty well with the red half of Merseyside but I think people believe what they want to believe.

The Liverpool fans protested a decade or so ago and did their best but I don’t remember any mass boycott of a match at Anfield, or even them attempting one.

I do remember them having marches and protests (as Newcastle fans have done any number of times) but it wasn’t Liverpool fans who got rid of Hicks and Gillett, it was simply down to the fact that the pair of them ran out of money and had no other option but to sell the club. The Scousers did their best but they just got lucky.

Newcastle fans aren’t so lucky (as per usual!), we have a billionaire owner who could let the club die and it wouldn’t affect his lifestyle one bit. Obviously he won’t want the club to go pop but the reality is that he is so wealthy, the club is not the sole, or even main, part of his fortune. NUFC clearly plays a very very valuable and essential role in pushing his retail empire but Mike Ashley doesn’t rely on the club to finance his food on the table or drinking binges.

Manchester United fans are the same, all kinds of protests when the Glazers took over but when did you ever see a mass boycott of a match at Old Trafford, or even one attempted?

If Newcastle fans could pull it off it would be a massive marker put in the sand against Mike Ashley and get the publicity it deserved.

In the past decade or so, the Glazers have been responsible for over one billion pounds leaving Manchester United, taking money out in salaries and share dividends but the main cost being massive interest payments every season as they bought the club and now the club has to pay the interest on the money they borrowed to buy Man Utd.

Nobody is going to feel sorry for Man Utd fans but just imagine what success they could have had if they’d had that extra one billion pounds to play with over this past decade? It is absolutely outrageous what the Glazers did, and are still doing ,and any clued up Man Utd fan will be furious about it – but where are the protests? Where are the boycotts?

Back to our little local problem.

We need Newcastle fans to be united, not fall into the trap of helping Mike Ashley further succeed with his divide and rule way of running Newcastle United.

Newcastle fans don’t need to be united in supporting a Newcastle v Wolves boycott, just united in having respect for each other no matter what they personally think is the best thing to do.

Sadly, Newcastle supporters scored a bit of an own goal earlier today when an article was circulated about the issues surrounding the Newcastle v Wolves boycott and it went very much down the divide and rule route, including lines such as

‘If you take your seat inside St James Park on the 9th of December 2018 you are not a supporter of Newcastle United, you’re a supporter of Mike Ashley.’

It wasn’t so much the article itself that was the problem, after all it was just one fan’s point of view, rather it became a problem because the article was then shared on social media by some of the Twitter accounts ran by the organisers of the protests, with most Newcastle fans (whether they agreed with the article or not) seeing that as a vote of approval for the message in the article.

Not surprisingly this ended up winding a lot of Newcastle fans up, both those who don’t support the idea of the boycott, and most importantly – the floating voters, the undecided.

Nobody likes being lectured, told what to do. So by pushing this article, the protest organisers are alienating many of the people who are the very ones who need to be convinced and make the Newcastle v Wolves boycott a success.

Putting forward the positive arguments as to why the one-off boycott is a good idea, doesn’t have to at the same time insult those who might not agree.

The enemy is not other Newcastle fans, it is Mike Ashley. It starts and finishes there.

Everybody has to do what they personally think is right.

There is no absolute right or wrong.

For anybody who wants to abuse other fans for not agreeing with them now, did they take part in the boycott of the Spurs match in 2015, or the 69th minute walkout at the Cardiff game in 2014, and so on? To borrow from that article earlier today, surely if you didn’t take part in all previous protests that must mean ‘you’re a supporter of Mike Ashley.’

What hope have we got if Newcastle fans only want to respect those who exactly agree with them?

Some Newcastle fans believe in boycotting all of Ashley’s retail empire but not anything to do with NUFC.

Some Newcastle fans believe in still going to matches but not buying anything from the club shop.

Some Newcastle fans then extend that to not buying food or drink at St James Park.

On a laughable note, I saw somebody recently say that anybody who bought a programme was not a true Newcastle fan. So in some crazy scenario you could have somebody who still goes to every single match, buys stuff from the club shop every match, drinks six pints of lager inside St James Park before kick-off BUT then think a seven year old kid buying a programme is a Mike Ashley loving traitor.

Remember, at the end of the day, this is just a football club.

We all love it and we want it to be the best it can be and we hate Mike Ashley because of what he has done to it/us BUT that doesn’t mean we should turn on each other.

I am 100% behind the Newcastle v Wolves boycott and just want it to be as big a success as possible.

Lets make a major statement live on Sky Sports and tens of thousands of us give the game a miss for once, watch it in the pub or house instead.

If you’re not convinced the boycott is a good idea then go to the match, it really doesn’t matter. It is simply about trying to convince enough people to do it.

Plus, no need to worry, I have a feeling there will be many many more protests you can join in with in the future if you miss this one.

Mike Ashley won’t be happy until he has totally ruined this club so we all need to get ready for the long haul.

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  • Paul Patterson

    It’s a hard situation. You can’t slaughter fans for turning up, but you can’t barrack them for staying away. Personal opinion? If you’re not happy with the product, walk away. I haven’t decided on what I’m doing for Wolves yet, but I understand both sides of the fence. The end of the season will be my tipping point.

    • Mrkgw

      Sounds to be the reasonable way to me.

    • WildBill

      Loyalty is a admiral trait but it’s misplaced on this occasion I feel. Anyone who clicks thru that turnstile on December 9th is publicly endorsing Ashley and his regime. We must boycott. It’s the only way.

      • Gusto

        They aren’t endorsing Ashley, they are supporting the team as requested by Rafa. Ashley knows he’s hated, he doesn’t care. The media have widely reported the protest campaign – the world knows we don’t want Ashley owning our club. The tickets have (mostly) already been paid for – what’s the point in staying away? Cancel next year’s season tickets en masse, that might have some impact.

        • WildBill

          Rafa’s hardly going to tell fans to stay away is he? Wolves or any other match. Sky is going to mention the planned boycott at some point, if there’s only a few hundred empty seats it wIll be seen as an endorsement of Ashley. The tickets being paid for is not the point. The point to some degree is to show the world how we feel. Next season’s cancellation of season tickets is going to happen anyway. Let’s step up now.

          # Boycott Wolves

  • Itsnotyourclubanymore

    I don’t for one minute believe there can be a single fan left that thinks Mike Ashley is doing a good job anymore.

    Mike Ashley doesn’t support Rafa and he doesn’t support the team. It’s not our club anymore, and it won’t be until he is gone.

    I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be bothered by a boycott, he’d sit there with his smug ‘look at the stupid Geordies’ look on his face. As usual.

    The press, the rest of the country and the world would take notice though. I think it’s the right thing to do personally. Even if Ashley invested 500 million in January I’d still want him gone. He’s screwed us for so long that surely no one can trust him ever again.

    It’s not our club anymore, so why bother to pay for it? I actually don’t care anymore as it’s just a pointless and futile thing these days. I support Rafa, and with the right backing he could do great things with us. Lets face it though, he’ll be gone when his contract runs out. He’s been screwed as well. He’s a gentleman and will go with his head held high.

    Mike Ashley is poison, show the world what you think instead of ‘just doing what I’ve always done’, or ‘I support the team, not Ashley’. We’re getting relegated anyway, we’re absolutely unable to compete due to none of your money going into the club or advertising money, etc.

    Finishing tenth was the worst thing that could have happened last year. Ashley didn’t even invest when we somehow finished 5th, spending a few million then could have got Sports Direct all over the Champions League TV within a couple of years if we’d kept what we had and improved other areas. Always the same story.

    Does nobody feel like they’re constantly being taken for a mug? I do, and have done for ten years.

    It’s not your club. If it was, it would be ran a lot better. Try and take it back.

    • Leazes.

      Tis our club despite Ashley having a bit of paper saying he owns the stands and the brand name…. the club is its people…,,.the fans!

  • Leicester Mag

    You are correct that it a difficult choice but you have to question what has to be done to us before enough is enough. Aside from habit what is the motivation at present? Arguably the poorest football for decades, zero end product, no plan to improve or inclination to either. One thing we can be assured of is that keep going and the same 🐎💩🥪 will be on the menu for many a year.

  • Ian Walton

    I’m 50 years old and will boycott (again as at the Spurs game and also the 69th minute walk out). I do however think that everyone is entitled to take whatever stance they feel is right. 99 percent of fans are united against Ashley and that’s what we should really remember. Opinions are one thing but there have been some very self righteous and hateful comments on this forum ( you know who you are) and its people like these who don’t deserve to be connected to NUFC. I mentioned my age because my 14 year old son says he won’t be boycotting but that he will with his mates be supporting his team, join the demo outside of SD and also sing anti Ashley songs. I’m expecting the self righteous to now have ago at my 14 year old son – I hope I’m disappointed.

    • Leazes.

      Have you thought about locking him in the cupboard under the stars on match day?

      • Ram Kishore

        Moron.

    • kingfisher

      I remember going to SJP aged 15 Ian, and nothing would have stopped me.At that age nothing else matters except watching your heroes on the pitch.Your son is to young and immature to be concerned about the reasons for protests and boycotts,so obviously he should be allowed to go if he wants to,although being only 14 you do have the parental right to stop him going if you wanted to,but at the end of the day it’s not worth falling out over,life really is too short 😁

  • Mrkgw

    Have to say that there is a real undercurrent of people believing their way to be the only way from within our support and if you dare to buck the trend then all hell breaks loose. That’s not acceptable. The current dictator pulling the strings is bad enough, no one should ever bully anyone into the single line of thought.

    • Leazes.

      One person with numerous names isn’t an undercurrent……

      I can see it from his point of view that he has made the sacrifice so those that haven’t are weak and to blame for the last decade of this ‘barbarian’ sacking the city…..

      A lot of people left but Ashley managed to fill the empty seats…its not the same 50k crowd…. and that’s down to a large conurbation with a large student population….

      I’ve said its not a battle its a war against this owner, so its not about achieving his immediate removal, its going to be the largest show of unity we have had, and will galvanise the rest of the struggle. Even without it there will be a drift away and its starting to show so his removal is a must because his long term presence is damaging….

      ….we have to rescue what little is left of the club without the local journalists.

      • Mrkgw

        Quite right, we can’t rely on any media outlet – least of all our own in the Chronicle. All down to supporters now to win the battle.

      • wheyayeman

        The Revolution will not be televised

      • Steven05

        Can we not organise something resulting in a civil peaceful meeting between the local media/the Chronicle and a representative of our club?

        If that was possible, I vote for you

        (Serious thought)

        • Leazes.

          ….. in a room with Charnley and Ryder….:)

          Have you seen the film….’Texas chainsaw massacre’

          • Steven05

            I have but I was thinking Taxi Driver:

            “One day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets”

      • Pezza

        Aren’t you the perdpe who has numerous names?

    • Pezza

      Quite right

  • Alan

    I remember having a hand written bed sheet with ‘sack the board’ when McKeag was chairman. I remember when Cabaye basically went on strike when he couldn’t get a transfer to PSG. When he didn’t get the initial move we had supports applauding him when he ran down the touch line as a substitute. My objection at the time was he was getting paid £30,000 per week but didn’t want to play.
    Lots of protests in between of course but all protests from inside the stadium, so I’ll probably be at the Wolves game.

    • Leazes.

      Two years ago after leaving the Championship you promised No signings no return….we didn’t sign anyone!

      This is what you wrote…..

      ….’No signings then relegation… No signings then no season ticket for me. I refuse to go home after every match angry and frustrated’….

      Now you refuse to stay away…. why is that?

  • Down Under Mag

    The boycott has never been about financial implications, TV revenue has all but made fan attendance a luxury in terms of financial implications.

    The boycott has been more about making a statement on national TV, taking a stand, showing that while we may not count on a financial side, having empty stands is not good for live TV and hopefully show that fans do still count and make some of the people pulling the purse strings start to take notice.

    I have supported everyone in their desire to continue to go to matches, BUT there has to come a point where you make a statement and this wold be the chance. It is one match to hopefully effect change rather than just accept this current state as the status quo. Loyalty is admirable but not if it means things continue as they are.

    Sadly what I suspect will happen is that a few will not go, protest outside the ground as the vast majority continue their zombie-like autopilot trudge in to the ground to moan and complain about how bad we are and the general tv audience will see a few empty seats, no doubt use it as a stick to beat the fans with as we are failing to support our team and carry on with their general malaise in reporting.

    An empty stadium doesn’t allow for sloppy journalism and agenda based interpretation, it firmly says “we are taking a stand” and the media in general cannot help but take notice. Hopefully there is more than a few hundred that decide to not go…but I doubt it. It will be the usual lack of cohesion that undermines us at every turn (can everyone remember the proposed walk outs when the fans couldn’t even work out a consensus on the time to do it?? I predict more of the same).

  • Pilot of Japan

    My dilemma. I live in the USA. My daughter is 7 and Im bringing her back for a week with her Dad to the North East to see family and old haunts. I’m from Consett, (so we can argue about that :), but I REALLY want to take my little lass for a tour of St. James, that she’s only seen on the telly, and to a game. Just happens that it would be the Wolves game we can make. I appreciate the article, with it’s reasoned tone. For her sake, I wnt to take her to the game at the same exact age when I first saw the lads play, so she gets to experience a gameday, but at the same time, I hate that Im giving Ashley my hard earned. I hate the bloke for making this my little lasses’ first experience of the toon a conflicted one.

    • Wezza

      Quite a dilemma but put her first mate. Your own are more important than MA!

    • Ashley-out

      i would class you & your daughter as an exception to the rule,

    • Steven05

      I hope your daughter falls in love with our club and has a great day. But the longer Ashley is here the less chance of future kids/football fans falling in love with our club – aka as our future

    • Dillon Tovak

      Quite the pickle, that game may not be the one to give her the bug even if you go. A half empty stadium with protesters outside the ground.
      Dare I say, most likely a depressing loss to wolves too.

    • Cockneytrev

      TAke her, it’s her one chance, she isn’t going to make a difference, but the rest need to boycott,,
      I hope you have a great day with your daughter,,

    • Mrkgw

      Take her to the game – Cockneytrev is right. I’m from the NE but live down south through work. I organised a trip months ago for a weekend for purpose of the match. Train booked and paid, as is the hotel. Think I’m wasting it? Not a chance. The protest was announced only a week or two ago. I respect it, of course but circumstances can result in the need to do otherwise.

    • WildBill

      Take her, you are the exception to the rule (so to speak) , the only games I’ve been to recently are when I have friends or family visiting. There’s no dilemma. Take her and don’t feel guilty.

  • Ram Kishore

    A good article Dean.
    A write up that tells people to respect other people’s thought, actions and views.
    👏

    • X2

      “Ambulances were called to Sports Direct International’s headquarters more than 80 times in two years” – BBC. Going to the game means being force-fed the ugly Tat Direct advertising and supporting Sports Direct’s vicious work practices.

      • Ram Kishore

        I understand, I am supporting the boycott pal. It’s just the article was a reasoned one that encompasses many things

  • Alex

    Yes, of course, Newcastle fans aren’t the enemy. But, what do you call people who continually ‘support’ the enemy?

    If, just for once, they can support the bigger picture, and watch this match on tv, it’ll make a huge statement in the media, and to the real ‘enemy’.

  • Westdentoon

    Excellent article. Don’t get the slagging of fans dished out on this forum over recent weeks. ‘50k will get what they deserve’ – ffs what’s that all about?

    However this boycott needs to be a success and I certainly plan to take part. If only we had a media outlet on our side like Liverpool did. Step up the wonderful Chronicle..

    • Pezza

      Read the article, Liverpool got to the stage of insolvency and RBS forcG out, nothing to do with fans.

      We are unable to post your comment because you have been banned by The Mag. Find out more.

      • Westdentoon

        What you on about? Where did I say otherwise?

        • Pezza

          You mentioned Liverpool had the support of the media, it made no difference at all.

          We are unable to post your comment because you have been banned by The Mag. Find out more.

          • Westdentoon

            I never said it did.

            Liverpool fans did have the support of their local media, regardless of the influence it had on the final outcome.

  • Wezza

    Until then beware of the PR in the coming weeks. We’ve already seen the club use Rafa as a peacemaker stating ‘we need fans with us for 90 mins’ when we all know he understands the reasons for our protests. Watch the club try and force him even more!

    • Ashley-out

      expect a few players to be rolled out before Saturdays match, you can read that lot like a book

    • X2

      Yes. And evidence that Ashley does care about empty seats.

  • Ashley-out

    Garbage, reads like a get out of jail card for the sheep, if you go to the games
    then don`t [email protected]@king moan about Ashley. you are part of the problem

    • Steve Smith

      Not a get out of jail free card at all. It makes perfect sense.

      Shouting down people as racists during the referendum got us Brexit.

      Shouting down people as red necks and misogynists in the US elections got us Trump.

      Funnily enough, being insulted makes people double down on the opinion that isn’t yours.

      • Cockneytrev

        Didn’t realise this was a political web site,,

        • Steve Smith

          Me neither. It’s a good thing my own political opinions aren’t being discussed.

      • Kenny

        No it didn`t

        • Steve Smith

          It didn’t because you made one of these decisions completely independent of being berated for it? Or it didn’t because you’re one of those doing the berating?

      • Wor Lass

        Fat Mike would have been proud of the Brexit Campaign – full of lies and false promises which were later denied.

        • Steve Smith

          Yep. The economy is still ticking along nicely, businesses are still here, immigration is still happening and the NHS hasn’t been gifted a spare 18 billion from the EU.

          The joys of our politics decending into the US model.

          • Wor Lass

            I think you`ll find “Let`s make Britain great again” came before “Let`s make America great again”.

  • Pezza

    I’m going to the game, in part because I was going to be up to visit family and moreover, I’ll not be told what to do.

    It’s also counterproductive

    • Geordiegiants

      He already has most peoples money anyway, It is all he wants and cares about.

  • David2211

    If after eleven years and the many, many, MANY instances of proven neglect, disrespect and downright malice dished out by our owner people will still go and accept it all, they’re lost causes and aren’t gonna change.

    I’ve said for ages now I’d love Pardew to return when Rafa goes as that might show people what a joke this all is and finally stand up and take action.
    But 50,000 would still go, wouldn’t they

    • Sickandtired

      The club is a joke under Ashley, full stop. It matters nothing who may or may not follow Rafa – whoever it is would simply be admitting they accept the way the club is ran and is happy enough with that, or will have fallen for another set of lies.
      If Fatty can’t support and be honest to a world class Manager of Rafa’s standing, then no one else has a chance.

    • Ashley doesn’t care about ticket money. You are not hurting Ashley by walking out you are hearting the manager and players who badly need confidence and support.

      • Sickandtired

        That’s a cop out also. The players and Rafa are being hurt by Ashley to an extent far greater than any protest would inflict.

        • X2

          Exactly.

  • Sickandtired

    The sad and inescapable fact is, no matter which side of the fence you are on, the only time we have reduced crowds of any significance is when people simply can’t be [email protected] to go and watch anymore (i.e. relegation/[email protected] football).
    The vast majority of the crowd is simply not militant enough to make a statement protest. Not even for one match. I’d also add that neither is most of the Geordie public – as the pitiful numbers in recent and past protests (over decades) have proven.
    Fatty has the money from season tickets so it won’t matter to him if a seat is occupied on match-day or not. This is a man who sits and smiles when chants ring out against him, or puts two fingers up in every general sense. He just doesn’t give a chuff.
    I do suspect the only way we will see the back of him is due to his own behaviour once again. Another relegation, reduced income, reduced crowds, thereby a business demand for him to inject finance which he sorely does not want to do.

    • X2

      Empty seats matter to him – it damages his horrible Tat Direct.

      • steve

        It doesn’t though does it? As long as the prices are cheap that’s all that matters and people will continue to shop there.

    • Mark Davies

      After the Leicester match I was in the pub and watched the vile images of him laughing with his cronies while he was chanted at. For me that really was the last straw.

      I know he’s there to promote his business and make money which makes me sick, but out of blind loyalty/stupidness/enjoying watching the lads live, I still went.

      However, that was just blatently taking the pee out of his paying clients as he would see us and that was the moment the penny dropped. Call it selfish but I wont have some parosite taking the p1s5 out of me, my mates, my family and footaball club and so at that moment while he was smugly grinning on the TV I snapped my season ticket in two.

      I will still go away as I love the away day banter ant travel but I will not set foot back in there until something changes. Some may say too late, but everyone has a different breaking point and that was mine. Seeing the 2 fingers not long afterwards just made my choice affirmed even more.

      We have all supported this once wonderful club with teams a lot worse on the park, so the state of the football isnt the issue here (although it is tragic). What I cant remember is a time when laughing at or giving 2 fingers to the fans was OK. Ask the likes of Billy Whitehurst what used to happen if you did. Shame the fat b*****d in charge cant be ran out of town like BW was.

  • S.G.M.

    I don’t think you will be able to count more than 200 empty seats.

    • Wor Lass

      Sad G..?.. Mackem? Come on, what does the G stand for? Gutted, maybe?

      • Leazes.

        I don’t know what it stands for either….but his very first post after registering was 2 years ago to me and it said …..”Ashley IN”….

        Dunno why I didn’t block it…. probably too infrequent a poster.

        • Wor Lass

          You were more mellow then, Leazes.

  • Roy

    Maybe a compromise would be a mass boycott for say, the first 10 minutes of the match, so it starts with an almost empty stadium. After that, all ticket holders could go into the ground and take their seats and support the team. Just 10 minutes of the start of the match is not too big a sacrifice, but would send a strong message… just an idea..

    • Mrkgw

      Fair idea.

    • Gusto

      that’s already planned for the West Ham game – 11 minutes.

      • steve

        How many people are aware of this plan?

        • Gusto

          It’s part of the same campaign as this Wolves boycott, but it’s clearly not getting as much attention.

  • NWTOON

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see S****s D****t logos on the back of each seat so when the crowds do eventually drop, the FCB can advertise his sweat shop when the camera pans into the empty spaces!

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    The ‘fans’ are part of the problem and bear a large burden of responsibility for Ashley lasting so long and taking the club to the cleaners. If they don’t like being criticised – tough.

  • MadMag83

    I personally won’t go to another match or buy club merchandise until he is gone. I don’t have a problem with people choosing to go and support the team. But what I do have a problem with is that some of these fans go and watch and then complain about Benitez and the players. If they are there to support the team, not the regime, then why are they then giving the team abuse (boos etc​)?

  • Rich Lawson

    Catch 22,I want to watch us play but want ”Mike” gone as well,best I can do is go to the pub when the games are televised,love the ground,love the team,hate the owner !

  • Viru leckworth

    Trouble is, 20,000 light would, on tv, look like some of the lesser supported clubs in the division. 20,000 fewer won’t look alarming. We need as near to 100% as possible. I hope the message gets through to the other 30,000.

    • Leazes.

      It would be nice if they empty the ground before 90 mins…..the players can help out here.