Now is the time to stand up if you hate Mike Ashley
Some Newcastle fans will never engage in any protests against Mike Ashley at all. They might hate him but see football as what they do on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes it’s awful, sometimes it’s great, but they’ll be there, supporting the team regardless.
A small sub-section of these might even not think the owner is bad enough to warrant action anyway, after all, the vast majority of owners are reviled by their fans and have been for decades, each just has a different reason to be hated. I’ve nothing but the utmost respect for these die-hards.
Some Newcastle fans will not engage in any protests while a class act like Rafa Benitez is at the club. Whatever Ashley does, while Rafa’s here, they have some aspiration. Rafa alone, is the only man left at the club to put any hope in. He has their complete support and Rafa needs the 12th man fully committed to supporting the team to ensure he gets everything he can from the hand he’s been dealt, in the hope of a better hand to come. Although, many will be resigned to the fact that it’s not likely to last. I’ve nothing but the utmost respect for those faithful.
Some Newcastle fans will follow protest, if there’s a movement with traction promoting it. They’re certain Mike Ashley is bad for Newcastle, that no manager, even the best, will be able to achieve any lasting progress as long as he remains. They’re just not sure that anything we do as fans will have an impact on the owner or force him into doing anything he doesn’t want to do. They’re willing to try though. It might kill them to miss a game, or they might be glad of the excuse for some extra time in the pub. No matter how the team or manager are performing in the short-term though, the big picture is we have to get “Ashley Out!” to build anything. Whether or not it can be achieved, it’s important to try. I’ve nothing but the utmost respect for those willing to act.
Some Newcastle fans will ferment protest. They’re certain Ashley is bad for Newcastle and furthermore that he will only consider getting out of town if he is challenged. They’ll sacrifice their own time and money, their own match-day, and open themselves up to public scrutiny to fight tooth and nail to put an end to the exploitation of their club. They know there’s no alternative to Ashley on the table right now, but also that we don’t know when there will be. Whenever there is an alternative to Ashley that steps forward, he has to be as inclined as possible to shift his asset and for the lowest possible price, rather than the premium he’s always wanted. Making him uncomfortable is the only way to achieve that. I’ve nothing but the utmost respect for those agitators.
Some Newcastle fans have had enough of it all already. Whether it was when Keegan was mistreated, or Kinnear appointed, or after being needlessly relegated, or when Kinnear was appointed again, or when the stadium was renamed, or when we were needlessly relegated again, or Carver was appointed, or McClaren, or after any one of the profitable transfer windows. Many have jacked it in already. Ashley has already killed the club for many supporters who followed the club through thick (ish) and thin for decades, who never expected to see us win, but wanted to see us compete. What’s the point in financially and emotionally supporting a club with an owner totally unwilling to do either unless it’s disaster recovery? If the owner of the club can’t pull in the same direction as everyone else, why should fans bolster his asset so he doesn’t need to? I’ve nothing but the utmost respect for those taking their personal stand against Ashley on principle.
The action The Magpie Group have proposed over the next two weekends is not going to live or die by the opinion of a small minority on social media whipping themselves into a frenzy of bitter arguments. What matters now is what the silent majority decide to do. None of the positions described above is wrong and most that hold them do so privately without pushing it on anyone else online. No one holding any of these opinions deserves any criticism. We all want the best for Newcastle United.
For my part, I’d respectfully ask the silent majority to make these silent protests that will send the loudest of messages. And ask them to politely ask their family, friends and colleagues to do the same as well. Or send them a link to this so I can ask them for you.
You don’t need to wave a bed-sheet. You don’t need to shout at a shop. You don’t even need to go through the gates late. Just wait until the 11th minute before going up the steps from the concourse to your seat for the West Ham game. Just watch the Wolves game from the comfort of your home or local.
This Saturday’s delayed entry to ‘the bowl’ of the stadium is especially important. It will set the tone for the following weekend. A significant number of empty seats will have a visible impact that will convince more that this is a movement with legs and to take part in the boycott the following week. Conversely, packed seats at the start of the West Ham game will convince those currently on the fence that only a small few have the strength of feeling to try, so they will come to the Wolves game.
Now is the time to stand up if you hate Ashley.
You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt
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