For me, the tipping point came at the Leicester City game in September – my 50th anniversary year at St James Park – although there was nothing “golden” about Newcastle’s performance that day.
As usual, I had travelled up from London. I grew up half a mile away from SJP and have been living in the capital since 1973, first as a student, then staying on as an economic migrant and also enhancing the gene pool by raising a family there. Newcastle will, however, always be home for me and I have been a season ticket holder since the 90s, making the 560 mile round-trip journey for our home games.
Enough was enough!
After 11 years of the toxic Mike Ashley regime with a lack of respect being shown to us: no trust, no decency and no hope, combined with broken promises and a lack of investment. I desperately wanted to do more than shout abuse at our owner during a match (great for providing short-term physiological relief to one’s rising anger, however I prefer positive sports psychology during a game to show support to Rafa and our players).
So what was I going to do?
Adopt a BMW approach (not the car but Bitching, Moaning and Whining) or get out and do something?
Then I heard about the London Magpie Group, got in touch and I found my kindred spirits, far away from the Toon, living in the south but still passionately keen to stand up, be counted, play our part and make a difference.
Last Saturday we took to the streets of London to protest. The definition of a protest is “the act of saying or showing publicly that you object to something” and that was what we were doing.
We know that Mike Ashley is not bothered about us, what he cares about is Sports Direct, so that was our focus last Saturday: spreading the word outside his Oxford Street store to shoppers and passers-by.
In August this year, Sports Direct was named the least reputable retailer in the UK in a survey of consumer attitudes, scoring badly on four measures: workplace, governance, citizenship and leadership. Our beloved NUFC has been tainted by association with this shameful brand for too long.
On Saturday, far away from the Toon in London there were encouraging levels of interest in our protest – many shoppers stopped to take a leaflet (we had 2,000!) and we engaged people in dialogue to explain the situation and why we are taking a stand.
Each of us will have a personal tipping point with the Ashley regime – what’s yours?
It’s great to be part of the London Magpie Group – good souls with a wide-range of expertise and talent, all keen to play our part to achieve positive change for our wonderful club. Do get in touch with LMG if you live in the south and have reached your tipping point and want to do something to make a difference!
HTL and KTF: “One day”, as Keegan said, we “will get our club back.”