In the bizarre world of Mike Ashley, I would make a decent bet that he was laughing his head off on Saturday night.
The football club that he owns had just been stuffed 3-0 at home by a team that started the day below them in the table, yet the NUFC owner would have been sinking those lager tops as if there was no tomorrow.
Winning against the Newcastle fans is far more important to him.
Ever since the rebellion that occurred when he forced Kevin Keegan out, Mike Ashley has had our card marked.
Like the old Greek Gods toying with mankind, Ashley has made it his business this past decade and counting, to make our lives a misery.
Turning St James Park into another Sports Direct outlet would have been far too quick a death, better to keep us alive, or at least existing, on the meagre rations of hope that have very occasionally trickled down to the fanbase. The fifth place finish can almost be seen as a massive negative really, now that we look back, to not make even the slightest effort to build on that surprise breakthrough season is worse than any relegation.
Likewise with Rafa Benitez, a manager leaves Real Madrid and sees Newcastle United as a long-term project where he can bring success AND actually approaches Mike Ashley to offer his services. Even Ashley wouldn’t look that gift horse in the mouth. He would however promise to look after and care for it (him) and even pretend at first he was genuine, only to then laugh in the face of this top class manager every transfer window since his first at the club, starving him of any funds and hope, just so he can really make the natives regret rebelling against him.
Pretending he is trying to sell the club for over 10 years now and still you get the odd fool, as well as those in the media who happily just repeat this lie – over and over again, that believes it is the lack of a willing buyer that is the problem. How Mike Ashley must laugh about that one.
Just like any house in your street, just like any other Premier League club, if Newcastle United was genuinely up for sale at a market price then it would have been sold 10 years ago, nine years ago, eight years ago…
An 11th minute walk-in was organised/announced by The Magpie Group, Newcastle fans weren’t interested.
It isn’t that they don’t hate Mike Ashley, it is just the vast majority saw it as pointless.
I thought it was a daft idea but I still took part.
I only thought it was daft because, just like the called off (but not letting anybody know…) Magpie Group protest at Ashley’s Sports Direct HQ the other week, it/they was/were a protest(s) too many.
Why do those when the boycott of the Wolves live on Sky TV was planned? The pre-match protests at the SD shop on Northumberland Street and the one at St James Park had continued to be well attended, so just keep those ticking along and do everything they/we can to convince the mainstream fan that boycotting this one match was the one big thing everybody could join in with, to send a message to Mike Ashley?
This doesn’t mean The Magpie Group are deserving of anger from other fans, they simply got the tactics wrong. The reality is that rallying Newcastle fans is the equivalent of herding cats, all but impossible.
Mike Ashley (well not him personally…) had even turned the TVs off in the concourses, to discourage the 11th minute further, so fans couldn’t watch the match. That and the fact he missed his first home game since September, tells me that he was worried that the 11th minute protest would work and his face would be picked out on TV looking down on vast sections of empty seats.
Instead, he wasn’t there but no doubt watching on a TV somewhere and delighted as all but a small minority of fans were in their seats as normal for kick-off.
I have seen a few comments where trolls/stooges, even some of them genuine fans probably, have tried to blame the 11th minute protest as at fault for the opening goal. Not sure how that works as so few did it and how that then equates to Newcastle’s defence letting a cross come in unhindered and then not marking Hernandez, is anybody’s guess. I know one thing, the same people/trolls wouldn’t have been giving the protestors credit if it had been Newcastle scoring in the 11th minute.
I think that now in the 12th year of his occupation (because that is what it feels like), fans just don’t want to really think about Mike Ashley when they are at the match, it is the one time of the week when they are, bizarrely, free to not think about him because of the distraction of the match.
Ironically, around 11 minutes before the final whistle, the vast majority of fans had walked OUT (see above – the Leazes, plus photos of the rest of the stadium which aren’t maybe the est of quality, though what do you expect from Level 7!).
Newcastle fans aren’t happy, they know the team/squad is really poor and they know whose fault that is.
However, knowing or believing in what to do to help get rid of Mike Ashley is quite another matter.
I still think the boycott of the Wolves match is a great idea (sacrificing one game to make a point to Mike Ashley) and I will still 100% be taking part, I also happen to think that it will still be (at least relatively) well supported.
I hope you will join me.