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Opinion

Empty For Ashley – A Campaign Explanation

2 years ago
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It is without doubt that there are issues with the way that Newcastle United football club is run by Mike Ashley and there is growing discontent from fans.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of ambition from those at the top of the club and a total disregard for supporters. We feel that now is the best time to act – Mike Ashley has allowed our best manager for a decade to leave the club while barely making any attempt to keep him.

He has treated club legends the exact same way, namely Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, whilst his treatment of Jonas Gutierrez, who was recovering from cancer, was simply disgusting. Many groups have tried to combat this, including The Magpie Group, If Rafa Goes We Go and the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.

At Empty For Ashley, we aim to get a large number of Newcastle fans on board with our planned protests. So far, we have achieved this and gained an immense amount of support from fans on social media.

What does Empty For Ashley aim to achieve?

First and foremost, our goal is to get Mike Ashley out of Newcastle United Football club.

We believe that the only way that this is possible is by not renewing season tickets, buying merchandise or attending games. We hope to gain the backing from a large amount of fans, journalists and ex-players. We hope that our boycotts will be a success, with tens of thousands boycotting specific games that are picked considering the opposition, whether it is on TV and the national media coverage that would follow.

By success, we mean that they will force Ashley’s hand into selling the club. Increased national and global media coverage should follow the boycott and we hope this will affect his other businesses such as Sports Direct by shaming them and putting them in the spotlight. We have seen boycotts work in the past, most famously by Lazio fans, and hope to copy that success at St James Park next season.

Our first boycott campaign has already been launched, #BoycottArsenal. This is Newcastle United’s first home game, live on Sky Sports for the whole world to see. This is why we see this game as a perfect opportunity to make a statement and show our intent to those at the top of the club, as well as fans around the world.

What are the group doing to make these campaigns successful?

Empty For Ashley’s founding members have been working hard behind the scenes to make this movement a success. Our group have been in contact with the council and many local businesses, such as pubs and replica merchandise companies, to provide extra incentives for fans boycotting our games. Announcements will be made on our group’s social media pages (@EmptyForAshley) in the coming days. As recently as yesterday, our group announced our new social media team consisting of six new members working on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! This allows our founding members to focus on forming links with businesses to make the boycotts more successful.

Our group are also in the process of designing flyers that will be distributed to fans who were not previously aware about our group. This way we can reach most of the fan-base, making a full boycott a possibility.

We also hope to gain backing from many pre-existing fan groups and aim to work in unison with them to achieve our goals. This would increase support and result in more fans being willing to boycott.

What will the group be doing to appeal to fans who are renewing season tickets?

We understand that many Newcastle United fans will be renewing their season tickets for the 2019/20 Premier League season.

We want to make it clear that as a group, we support any fan that is trying to do what they think is best for the football club. With that being said, we do urge all supporters to participate in our boycotts.

Many fans have reached out to us, stating their reasoning for renewing their season tickets, but many of these fans have told us that they would be willing take part in some of our boycotts next season.

Today, Empty For Ashley made an announcement promoting a deal that allowed any fan with a season ticket can get discounted drinks and food at The Ware Rooms in Newcastle (NE1 6UQ) with a season ticket. This deal is perfect for fans who are renewing season tickets, but still want to make a stand and boycott certain games throughout the season. The specifics of the deal can be seen on our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@EmptyForAshley). We hope to have more deals to announce in the next few days for fans both with and without season tickets.

How can I get in touch with the group?

Empty For Ashley’s social media team are working hard to respond to all direct messages on social media. They have received over 100 messages from fans offering their support or help. You can also send an email to [email protected]

The group have been committed to responding to fans and will continue to do so.

Final message from the group:

After years of horrible decisions and disrespecting fans, Mike Ashley remains the face of Newcastle United. This cannot, and will not, change until drastic action takes place. Are you ready to make a stand?

You can follow on Twitter @EmptyForAshley

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