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Opinion

As Newcastle fans, ask yourself this one question about Mike Ashley

2 years ago
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Ask yourself this question…“As Newcastle fans are you prepared to do whatever it takes to remove Mike Ashley as owner of Newcastle?”

Aside from acting criminally, if you aren’t prepared to do what is required, then you’ve already lost.

And please forgive me if I’m already cynical about who will come out on top here.

How? Why?

Well, take the statement from the Magpies Group this week,  citing their assertion that they won’t fall for Mr Ashley’s tricks again, referring to the abandonment of the Wolves boycott last year, shortly after it was announced that Peter Kenyon had all but secured a consortium to purchase Newcastle from the all too willing seller of Mike Ashley.

Result? – Cue the shaking of fists from many a duped Newcastle fan in the general direction of Mr Ashley…

Experience shows that when it comes to stand-offs, despite all the bluster and words and forming of groups (Ashley Out, Magpies Group, Empty for Ashley etc) AND despite all the hype and all the planning and promotion and organising, Ashley STILL comes out on top.

Why? Simple, he knows that no matter what he does, no matter how heinous, if Newcastle United get three points on a Saturday he gets another few months of breathing space.

When push comes to shove, on a match day, it’s too much for one fan to think “well I’m sure everyone’s doing their bit so I’ll do mine” but rather they think “well, I’m sure many others will stand up for us against Ashley so it won’t hurt for me to go to the match” or something along those lines.

Anyway, this is of course, complete conjecture and speculation, but look at the pattern.

Keegan – Gone.

Hughton – Gone.

Carroll – Gone.

Benitez – Gone.

Who’s still left? Who’s on top? Who’s holding every ace?

Mike Ashley.

So; cry, shout, put it in writing, get drunk, get mad, scream, kick, whatever. It matters not a jot. Mike Ashley is winning and he’s good at it. This is HIS game. Football is another. Yes we are superb fans. Yes we have an envious support. Yes we have a rich history. But this doesn’t count for squat in relation to dealing with the problem of Mike Ashley.

So what then?

Well ok. Let me play out a fictitious scenario based on where we are now. I hope I’m well wide of the mark but please be honest and comment if you think I’m well wide of the mark (I hope I am). It goes a little something like this;

Suppose The Magpie Group announce (in an official statement) their intent that all fans of Newcastle United should boycott the opening home game against Arsenal which is due to be televised. Not only that but all future home, televised games too, perhaps.

Sounds good right? Sounds fair right? Better still, they even went as far as to suggest that they weren’t going to issue a demand from fans for an all out boycott because, well, you know, some fans might really not like it, and can’t, well, just stop going like, totally.

There-in the seeds of Ashley’s victory are already sown.

How? Well, compare that to the reaction from fans only one week ago when Rafa announces his leaving, or rather Ashley did behind his back. The outrage was immediate. All out boycotts forever until Ashley was gone were heralded. This. Was. It.

‘Enough is enough’..no talk of boycotting one game or some games or televised games, just an all out boycott of all things Ashley.

Fast forward just ONE WEEK later? What do we have, “Boycott the first game! (please!) (If that’s ok) (but if not), (well ok I know, it’s hard but well), (maybe this one at least). One week since the best manager since Sir Bobby Robson leaves under a storm cloud of Ashley’s making and the cracks are already beginning to show.

So here’s what I think. Boycotting ONE game, the opening game, will do ZIP, NADA, ZILCH to move Ashley’s position. If anything, it’ll provide a PR opportunity akin to the same one that followed after the mass protests from Keegan’s premature departure in 2009. You know, along the lines of “I’ve heard you. You’ve made it clear you don’t want me. That’s fine. You don’t need to tell me anymore. I will have sold the club by Christmas”. That was TEN years ago!!! Two relegations and a sh..-sandwich or ten served up later and He’s STILL the owner. Why? How?

Because just like then and since, Mike Ashley will exploit his PR man’s advice and turn this seeming humiliation into a victory. Picture it now; the all-out boycott of the Arsenal game, a penitent, humble Ashley on TV pleading with the fans that they’ve finally got through to him, and he really has seen the light and well, it was just one big misunderstanding. And essentially, “please come home to Daddy”.

Be honest, would you still be as intent on getting him out at all costs, including continued boycotts, despite this obvious PR stunt? Or, do you think; “well, hey, an all out boycott! I mean, it’s done the job. He gets it. At last. And anyway, if he does it again, we’ll just boycott another game. The main thing is we’ve showed him. Anyway, what was the score? 1-1. Not bad. Could’ve been worse. The resentment is still there. I still want him gone. I think we’ve really made our point this time. Not sure I can miss another game…….”.

And there’s the rub. One game, even two, even THREE. I fear this will amount to nothing but good publicity for Ashley in the news and media.

The pain we must be prepared to endure in this war is akin to that of adopting a “Scorched earth policy”, in other words we must unite as never before, ready to endure that which is completely against our nature and lay waste to all sources of sustenance for Ashley before and after us.

Not just one game. Every game. EVERY GAME. And when the flattery comes, ignore it. Stay focused. Don’t give one quarter. Don’t be tempted, flattered and fooled.

He says “sorry”? Boycott.

He buys a decent player? boycott.

He says we have a serious buyer of the club? Boycott.

We make the top ten under another manager? Boycott.

We do well in the cups for once? Boycott.

As long as Ashley is in charge, Boycott. Anything less will see Ashley at the helm for years to come.

While he is owner. Boycott.

‘Boycott or Ashley’ That’s your choice. That is your choice from now on if you want him gone.

Make no mistake, any progress we seem to make under him will ultimately lead to him exploiting it and leaving us starved of anything to build upon.

So! There it is. Nothing for us! Nothing for him! We starve ourselves but in the meantime we starve him. Ashley knows we’re not prepared to go that far. He knows his victory is assured. And he smirks. And he laughs. He always laughs.

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