A word that generally divides Newcastle fans on one side or the other.
Is boycotting matches the next logical step in protesting against Mike Ashley?
I wrote a previous article (see below) on the boycott subject that was published on The Mag 10 days ago.
I think talking about boycotting games as an ongoing thing is totally unrealistic. Asking fans with season tickets to just not go match after match is a surefire way to fail.
If Newcastle fans are going to stop going to games altogether, they will do so by not renewing them, not when you still have most of the season still to go and having paid hundreds of pounds for the ‘pleasure’ of having one.
However, a one-off boycott is exactly what we should be looking to do.
After all, what we are trying to do is something symbolic, a big warning shot for Mike Ashley to think about. That this is what he will see (a half empty stadium) in the future on a regular basis if he doesn’t sell up.
(I have seen a suggestion that rather than a boycott, fans should wait and only go into St James Park once 15 minutes of the game has gone by. Whilst I think all options should be considered, I think this would simply cause hassle for the fans themselves. By the time the final people got in, it could be almost half-time, plus there would be safety implications and the police not exactly impressed if 30,000 fans were suddenly trying to get in the stadium at exactly the same time.)
As for choosing a match to boycott, it totally makes sense to choose one on live TV.
This means fans can still get to see the game on TV and most importantly, it will be a far bigger story if beamed out live on Sky Sports to a worldwide audience.
My initial choice, before the live TV games for December/January were announced, was Man Utd at the start of January.
However, I am persuaded now that we should do it ASAP and so Wolves at home on Sunday 9 December, live on Sky, must be targeted.
Bottom line though is that The Magpie Group HAVE to announce this ASAP because on-sale ticket details for West Ham (home on 1 Dec) and Everton (away on 5 Dec) have already been announced, so the Wolves arrangements will be next, very soon.
Honestly, what will you be missing out on by boycotting a one-off match?
Also, I was up in the Milburn for yesterday’s Brighton match and took this photo above, the big gaps are where away fans would usually be but in past times they would all have been snapped up by Newcastle fans.
In truth though, there were smaller pockets of empty seats all over the place (look at the middle tier of the Leazes in the above photo, for example – far bigger gaps than that in the Milburn as well). The attendance was claimed to be over fifty thousand but I reckon there was no more than 48,000 inside SJP, if that.
Wolves will obviously sell out the away tickets for the game but I think that if announced now, a boycott could still get the crowd under 25,000 for his match. Willing to make a one-off sacrifice even if they have already paid for a season ticket.
The decision/announcement has to be made now to boycott, as you need it to be done before fans start buying tickets for the game and booking travel/hotels.
It is time to escalate and that means a boycott of a live TV match.
Part of my previous article on The Mag – 11 October 2018:
‘Back in April 2015, the Ashley Out people (ashleyout.com) organised a boycott of the Tottenham home match. The official (paid for tickets) crowd was given as 47,427 but estimates ranged from 30,000 to 40,000 in terms of how many people were actually inside St James Park.
If that game was at least 12,000 under capacity, surely with the mood now, we can increase that to at least 26,000 under capacity.
That is achievable. Don’t worry about trying to convince everybody, that is totally unrealistic. It is also daft to bully anybody who still goes, try and persuade them to stay away by all means, but just because you have now decided the time is right, you don’t have the right to demand everybody agrees.
We just need to try and carry enough people with us to send out a powerful message.
Far bigger battles are ahead, such as the 20,000 season ticket holders who are on the long-term deals and will start paying for next season’s (2019/20) season ticket in February if they don’t cancel by the end of January. Mike Ashley having them exactly where he wants them.
The TV games set to be announced tomorrow and one stands out massively, NUFC set to play Manchester United on New Year’s Day.
This is bound to be on live TV and needs to be chosen by The Magpie Group as the game to boycott.’