With no football this weekend, there was always the chance we could be in for a quiet one. However, we all should know that is never the case with Newcastle United, is it?

This weekend was supposed to be a positive one for the Magpie Group and the protests against Mike Ashley. Two protests were supposed to take place, one at Shirebrook and one in London. Only the latter actually took place.

To be honest, taking the Shirebrook protest at face value, it is not really a surprise that there was such little interest.

Perhaps in hindsight, which is an easy thing, the organisers should have noted earlier just how difficult it is to persuade people to give up their own valuable spare time to protest. It is hard enough getting people away from their extra pint in the pub at half two on a match day, so it was always going to be pretty impossible to tear them away from their family for a full day, on their only day off, to travel 180 miles to a warehouse in the freezing cold, to well, shout at it.

Of course, there isn’t much you can do in other areas of the UK, as the masses simply don’t care about Newcastle United. This is one reason why I believe protests should place more of an emphasis on Sports Direct, their morals and practices in the workplace. This is something that the London Magpie Group have done successfully so far with a protest at Sports Direct on Oxford Street, outside KBA Agency, as well as meetings with MPs in parliament.

Rather than making the trip to Shirebrook, the Magpie Group instead visited a few Sports Direct stores across the region. I have to be honest, I am still surprised by just how full the stores are every time that I walk past one. I don’t think that there is any doubt that if the Sports Direct stores in the Newcastle area were empty, or at least suffered a financial hit, then it would have somewhat of an impact on Ashley. Likewise, if a significant amount of people, lets say 50,000-70,000 no longer contributed to online sales then it would have a further impact.

Don’t get me wrong, this is the long game, and little things will matter. Despite the setbacks, fans must keep up the pressure. In my opinion, they must continue to back the Magpie Group when keeping up that pressure. A focal point is needed, and the Magpie Group are already well established, so why go back to square one?

Obviously though, I can’t write an article about the Magpie Group and not address the elephant in the room which is the s… show that was the cancellation of the trip to Shirebrook, which not only let down members, but most importantly let down at least four fellow Mags who made the trip to Shirebrook without knowing that the Magpie Group organisers had decided not to go ahead with that protest after all.

Honesty should always be the best policy. From my own sources, I can say with almost certainty, that the trip wasn’t cancelled because of security concerns, or because Ashley had put extra security at the planned protest site. This isn’t true. So why lie to fans? You lose accountability when combatting Ashley for lying to the fans, when the group itself lied to fans on Saturday morning and continued to do so throughout the day.

The Magpie Group should display the same ethics and principles to their members that they expect from Mike Ashley as owner of Newcastle United – 100% honesty would be a start.

I would question under the current leadership of the Magpie Group whether they have any interest in getting all of the fans onside. At the moment, I believe that the Magpie Group only wants members who are like-minded and share the same beliefs as their own. Is there space for those that don’t push the exact same agenda? I don’t think so.

One of the reasons I say this, and the reason I suggest the Magpie Group is somewhat of a clique mentality, is that I understand they (unlike the London Magpie Group) have not once got in touch with The Mag to support the protests. When the group was formed (mainly via twitter accounts), The Mag was ignored.

To my knowledge, The Mag is the largest NUFC fan-based media with the largest following, so why ignore The Mag? We all have the same end goal, to rid Newcastle of Mike Ashley. We all want to help. The Mag is only informed of protests via sources, or searching on Twitter, rather than receiving anything official from the leadership.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

We all want to help.

I have always said, in regards to Newcastle United, that if the owner can get the fans on board then you are already 50% of the way there. The same goes for the Magpie Group. Get the fans on board and you’re halfway there.

The same goes for the local media. Where are they right now? To my knowledge, and I am sure they will correct me if this is wrong, but they haven’t done anything to seriously support the protest movements. Mark Douglas has turned up at the Magpie Group meetings, but aside from that, I am not sure the Chronicle has any interest in helping fans.

Articles put forward by the Chronicle in the past week have been so basic, that require such little research. I have seen more articles with no research or base regarding ‘takeovers’ or how Elias Sorensen may be the next no.9 than I have about Mike Ashley, protests, or strategies to move the club forward. On the topic of getting the fans onside, I don’t believe the Chronicle are even on the side of the fans.

In regards to the likes of effort or research put in by the Chronicle, I would direct you to an article posted on Sunday morning which states: “Supporters are continuing to make their point to Ashley after a coach of fans from Tyneside journeyed outside Sports Direct’s head office in Shirebrook over the weekend”….This posted after the trip was cancelled over 24 hours earlier. The standards are so low, and the Chronicle, as the most influential institution in the region that isn’t beholden to the club, should be doing far far more to challenge Mike Ashley and do what is best for Newcastle United.

Alas, the level of organisation within the Magpie Group leaves a lot to be desired, however, to let these problems, of which I have noted there are a few, to detract from the main aim of the Magpie Group, which is to bring negative attention towards Mike Ashley, would be a grave mistake.

The Magpie Group are the only ones making an effort so fair play to them. So yes, question them, yes be critical. Hold them to the same standards you would the club you support. Get behind them, go to the meetings, contribute your opinion. Get involved. Be proactive. Don’t sit there in your living room complaining on social media. Make a positive change. Be the difference.

Remember where we are the moment though. It is the long game. Not the short game. Mike Ashley won’t be gone this season and he more than likely won’t be gone come the end of next season too.

The one thing that is out of everyone’s hands is that if we win at Everton, and pick up positive results against West Ham or Burnley, then that will probably affect the attendance of the Wolves game boycott and the desire of fans to combat Mike Ashley. That for me, is a sad indictment of where we are at as a support base.

At the end of the day, as long as Mike Ashley owns Newcastle United, a Premier League football club with a considerable fan base, that allows him to push his number one priority (Sports Direct) to the rest of the world, then he isn’t going anywhere. He has no intention of selling. This is why it is integral to use our own influence, as fans of that great club, via the vehicle of the Magpie Group, to bring as much negative attention to Mike Ashley and Sports Direct as possible.

You can follow the author on Twitter @_jonathandc

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  • Paul Patterson

    In short – He has got us hook line and sinker. We don’t want to give it up but don’t want to give him any more money.
    Protests don’t matter and in certain cases will effect the team.
    He’s a parasite that sucks the life out of business/institution and won’t leave unless forced out. Greed is the only motive.
    Boycott? Fair enough. Turn up and support? Fair enough. Neither will effect him. He can ride out both.
    In short, we’re stuck until he gets bored or dies. Unless somebody pays silly money.
    I think I’ll be gone from SJP next May..

    • Leazes.

      John Hall and Keegan followed the decree ‘give them bread and circuses’…. 11 years on….the bread is stale, the circus has moved on and the clown is left in the boardroom.

    • NUFCDan

      Hate to say it but I agree. I’m pretty much at the point now where I’ve given up caring because there’s no point getting upset about something that you cannot control or even influence.

  • Carverlier football

    Quite right. Shouldn’t let one bungled weekend derail the focus and efforts, otherwise we might as well accept the club will be anti-competitive forever and fork out for a course of hypnotherapy to break our reliance on the thing…

  • Leazes.

    Of course the Chronicle are sticking with Ashley….they were the ones who turned John Hall’s bungled debt ridden development at Wynyard into a means by which Ashley could say it was the club in debt!….. they twisted the truth wholesale to allow this asset strip!

    The chronicle have lied for bloody years protecting him, especially that b*stard Mark Douglas! They still try to milk the lies don’t they, pre-empting the Rafalution which never happened, you can get a few thousand in royalties for a book on United as Bradford fan Douglas knows….. you then have to follow up the nonsense spouted on a weekly basis so you look less cof a fool….in your own mind!

    Douglas and Ryder should have been sacked years ago….. corrupting influences!

    ….Fake Newsmen…

    • Brian Standen

      John Gibson only journo ever to hold NUFC clues to his heart

      • Leazes.

        He’s the only one of them who is actually a United fan.

        • Brian Standen

          It must be a sunny day in hell if we are agreeing , but you are right!

  • Rabid Dog

    The article in the chronicle in no way said that it was cancelled because of extra security, it said:

    “Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much uptake as originally suggested, so we made a late decision to re-deploy our limited resources displaying banners at local branches. We had arranged cost price coach travel from Newcastle but take up was so low we were left with no option but to cancel the coach. We were notified that extra security had been placed at Shirebrook so felt, on the day, our absence would still cause disruption.”

    Still, nothing like the facts to get in the way of a good story?

    • Leazes.

      That makes no difference to the essence of his argument at all.

  • Down Under Mag

    The thing is the Magpie Group made a mistake, it was a judgement call that backfired. However they have openly apologised (granted I think they needed to do it slightly quicker and a little less “Bishop-PR’esque” but at least they issued it) and the fact remains it only actually affected a handful of people who didn’t bother registering they were going in the first place AND the amount of abuse the group is getting is appalling and completely OTT.

    The fact remains, they are at least TRYING to force a chance at the club. All those who are openly criticising them for this indiscretion, how many of them are planning things, making an effort, doing ANYTHING to try and help the cause? No, it’s simply for too easy to continue to turn up to matches like sheep to boo players, look and laugh at those protesting and generally doing nothing but stand around with their thumb up their @r$e and yet still complain about the state of the club.

    It’s getting me wound up now seeing the sheer number of so-called fans criticising others just for caring what happens to the club they love. I have backed anyone who still wanted to go to matches and not everyone wants to get int he public spotlight, but don’t bag out those who are trying to make a difference!

    • Pezza

      Yep, you made the point. It only affected a handful of people. Had it gone ahead, it would have only affected a few more. Nobody else would care.

      These protests do nothing but make us look silly.

    • Brian Standen

      Absolutely most sensible comment on here today!

  • Blackburn1066

    NUFC Fans have no balls, they think NUFC will turn that corner no matter what. You

  • Loco

    The north east should be proud of its history of protest,show this clown that the region still has a voice!

    • Pezza

      Gosh no, we come over as lazy moaners, almost the scousers of the east coast.

      Do something positive by all means but don’t make the rest of us look stupid. We know how to get a change of ownership and protesting does not achieve it.

      • Loco

        New to this board so enlighten me how you propose a change of ownership without protest,as for making “the rest of us look stupid” your remark “scousers of the east coast” does that for you.

        • Pezza

          Fairly

      • Loco

        My wife’s a scouser,some people would call it using your voice not being a ” lazy moaner”.
        As for making people look stupid,think you’ve got that one covered.

        • Pezza

          Well, you have to say that, she’ll be on strike if you are no careful.

    • Leazes.

      Unfortunately it doesn’t have a voice….. not because our politicians don’t speak….. they do….. but because the London Parliament doesn’t parli… or listen….. power lies elsewhere.

      • Loco

        Aye,probably need to shout a bit louder.

  • mactoon

    So does anyone know why their website has been unavailable since the weekend?

    • Wezza

      Sounds suspicious but it could have been hacked, wouldn’t put it past FCB and his minions as we o my have to look at history to show exactly how low they go.
      Maybe we will find out.

  • Pezza

    “To detract from the main aim of the Magpie Group, which is to bring negative attention towards Mike Ashley, would be a grave mistake.”

    I thought the raison d’etre was to change ownership? If it’s just to carry in making up rubbish and looking foolish, carry on as you were. However, please stop embarrassing the rest of the fans, it’s tainting us normal folk

    • Christopher Smeaton

      You care more about how it makes you look than trying to expose Mike Ashley to wider society?

      Says it all.

      I was at the protest in London smand it was well received by passers by and many were deterred from going in.

      I can confirm with total confidence, nobody made anything up on the day.

      What are your other excuses for not trying everything in your power to oust Ashley?

      • Leazes.

        Thats a troll, don’t feed it.

        • Christopher Smeaton

          Now blocked. Cheers Leazes

          • Pezza

            Thank goodness, you may have learned something new.

          • Realist

            😂 ” cheers leazes ” 🐑🐑🐑

          • Christopher Smeaton

            8=3

          • Realist

            Poor!

      • Pezza

        No, I care how it makes the club look.

    • East Durham Mag

      Normal?

      • Pezza

        The fan who doesn’t wave his bedsheet

        • East Durham Mag

          So you are happy with the regime and the overall positioning and performance of the club? We have regressed with Ashley as owner.

          • Pezza

            No,

  • Toon

    Unfortunately the boycott will fail and that will be the end of it. Some fans don’t realise the importance of this, either that or they are just morons. If the crowd for Wolves is healthy it tells Ashley it’s just a minority who are bothered, its ‘blown over’ and keep the cash in the bank in January as these idiots will put with anything

    • S.G.M.

      Typical, ” either that or they are just morons.” Playground attitude.

    • Brian Standen

      Stupid thing to say and gives those that go ( including me) ammunition to throw back!
      Every one is entitled to an opinion but it does not make those that disagree with you idiots!
      For the record, in my opinion it’s possible to have a foot in both camps!

  • Themoscow72

    The Magpie Group has a hard core of perhaps twenty people at tops. Out of these perhaps half a dozen were prepared to make the journey to Shirebrook so it was called off. If the London protesters had a second protest I doubt if more than halfa dozen would turn up. Both groups are a complete waste of time and Ashley will sell when a bid is made of £290m plus. Rafa Lasceslles and 49,000 fans do not want a boycott or protests so please go away.

    • East Durham Mag

      After you

    • Brian Standen

      Who is gonna bid £290 million?
      That horse bolted when Amanda Stavely did not follow through despite Ashley apparently agreeing to sell over a curry!
      Stuck for a while yet

      • Themoscow72

        That is the minimum he will sell for which is basically his loan, purchase price and a few bob to cover his legal fees. Standing in shop door ways will do more harm than good. Any prospective buyer will run a mile if they see these antics going on.

        • Brian Standen

          A consiencious owner would alleviate any protests anyway!
          Remember how onside Ashley was in the beginning, appointing crowd pleasing managers, buying the Bigg market a drink, sitting with the fans – it went sour in my eyes when Chris Mort saw through him.
          I know we agree to disagree but sensibly managed protests will continue to raise awareness.

          • Pezza

            Disagrees

          • Brian Standen

            Fair point really – and the alleged reason he chose Man City is because Ashley showed disrespect to him.
            What people forget is NUFC won nothing for 50 years, Ashley has been here less than a quarter of that time period!
            Apart from a few years under John Hall etc the rest of the owners, boards etc were no better than Ashley!
            There were regular protests in the 70s and 80s.
            The club is cursed!

          • Pezza

            The disrespectful

          • Leazes.

            Its by design rather than luck.

          • Leazes.

          • Leazes.

            Mort jumped ship but he’s still being used by Bishop….. that Staveley diligence thing was a stunt…. Mort is part of that group.

          • Brian Standen

            I know he acts for Staveley

          • Leazes.

            I really thought she was genuine at first because she has strong links with Newcastle her ancestors were burgesses and Lord Mayors of Newcastle….. but she is also a Neighbour of Ashley’s daughter in Knightsbridge, and wife of a PR guy…… the diligence couldn’t have been done without looking into SD’s share of the booty….. it was a stunt, to keep this nonsense going.

          • Brian Standen

            I bow to your knowledge although I would be interested ( genuinely) in how you know about her background etc.
            I don’t doubt for a second that it was just one huge publicity pantomime played out for sky and the interested public.
            Fact is Ashley is not going anywhere, to be honest such is the fragility of the retail market and with brexit looming his own ‘business’ net worth could crash anytime.
            In some ways Chelsea are also a little bit at risk, Man City on the other hand ( could have been us) will go from strength to strength

          • Leazes.

            Research…..I know lots of things Bill.

          • Brian Standen

            You at it again , why not take a compliment for what it is ?

          • Leazes.

            Did I get it wrong?

          • Brian Standen

            Clearly

          • Leazes.

            As I said, I research, but I thought I’d tease you a bit, I was going to say I think I’ve worked with some of your cousins, but maybe I’m wrong….I’m fallible.

      • Pezza

        No

        • Brian Standen

          But that does not leave anything in a pot for investment in players or facilities etc.

          • Pezza

            Not needed

          • richard bell

            Horrific

          • Pezza

            Which bit, it’s fairly sensible.

          • Wezza

            Brian, that’s a troll.

      • Toontaff

        Curry and follow through in the same sentence!

      • 1957

        My brother in law, a business journalist, who has done investigation into SD in the past says the rumour around his paper was Ashley called her bluff by offering a compromise deal over the relegation issue / clause and she didn’t come back to him. There were doubts she ever had enough backing for a £300m deal

        • Brian Standen

          That makes perfect sense to be fair

    • Peaco

      Can’t comment on everything you’ve said, but your comments re: London Magpie Group are ill informed. Since you were/are not involved in the LMG’s activities, then if it is a complete waste of time (not sure how you would know); it’s no skin off your nose is it? However, I am intrigued -why are you so angry about these protests? Perhaps you need to calm down a bit?

      • Themoscow72

        No offence was intended but what have these chaps done to find a buyer. I worked with the original Magpie Group who found backers to buy the club. Protesting outside of shops or boycotting will only serve to put any prospective buyer off.

        • Peaco

          No offence was taken. If a potential owner is put off by fans protesting against the type of owner who takes the Micky out of his staff, the fan base, stakeholders and community at large; then my response would be good – that’s not an owner we need.

  • Leazes.

    You lose a few battles in a War….

    Why does Charnley hide?

    • Brian Standen

      Because he has no influence over anything!
      Just a puppet for Ashley

      • Leazes.

        He’s the Patsy.

  • Gallowgate1982

    The fact that they as you say lied about the shirebrook scenario suggests that they cannot be trusted to do anything on my behalf as a fan. I know people who questioned (not abused) them over the shirebrook cancellation and were blocked from their Twitter. At that point I unfollowed the Magpie group and will be unsubscribing when they eventually get the website back up if ever. I have my own suspicions about the motives of the Magpie group and their leadership in particular but my suspicions are just that with no proof so best kept to myself.
    For now I think the Magpie group is finished and I don’t think they can restore the faith…much like our intrepid club owner!!

    • Leazes.

      I don’t think anyone has lied except Ryder, Douglas and Bishop, Wise, and that gang!

  • Stephen Paylor

    Not attending games wont matter to Ashley, attacking sd and its share price will really matter.

    • Leazes.

      One journalist said that the online campaign was having an effect…. that is the way to go…. but the new offensive has to start with the Wolves Game….