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.