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Opinion

It is with apologies to all my fans that I am adding to the avalanche of bad Newcastle United news…

1 month ago
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This has been a bad Newcastle United summer so far.

It may be down to personal choice what the lowest moment has been.

The false hope of takeover slowly and surely dissipating, the only club with no signings, Perez leaving, Rondon never likely to stay, Bruce poised to come in as manager, Allardyce pieing off the offer to come as manager, fans spreading misinformation and misdirecting blame at each other in the fallout, the list goes on.

Oh, and Rafa leaving might just be up there as well, a move that could turn out to be one of the worst things to happen to this club, and that’s saying something.

So, it’s with apologies to all my fans that I am adding to the avalanche of bad news. I am going to have to take a temporary sabbatical from writing match reports for The Mag, as I will not be attending the matches as things stand. I’ll go into my reasons why in a bit, but first a little bit about match reports.

A lot of people may see the report as a bit of an anachronism but I would disagree.

I started writing the reports from various grounds around the country years ago for the big paper version of the Mag, before life evolved to me covering mostly home games and The Mag being entirely web based.

In either situation I believe it has its place; a partisan fan’s eye view of the game that works best with a more colourful angle than dryly relaying shots on target and possession percentages. However, this does not fulfil the instant gratification of generation Snapchat it seems, as I regularly get disparaging comments when a Saturday match report arrives on a Monday.

Apologies to all who find this offensive, as after the game I’d go for a drink with my mates, before heading home and spending the rest of the weekend with my family, who I haven’t seen much of on the matchday. I will sometimes find time to send it in on the Sunday, but by then Johnny Keyboard has forgotten about it and turned their short attention span to a 14 hour fortnite binge.

That’s by the by though, as I said, I feel they have their place and plenty people respond far more positively than the eternal virgins. There is, however, a more volatile line in “constructive feedback” and it’s a line I’ve now crossed.

People will often feel moved to comment that, in being at the match to write about it, I’m part of the problem. I have disagreed with this for years as Rafa’s presence held the club together, but the extent of pi..taking this summer has broken me. The same trick for the third time in two years pulled with an alleged takeover whittling away the window as Ashley sells the club’s assets but not the club. Many people have said he’s laughing at the fans and I think they’re right. I’m boycotting Arsenal and beyond.

My reasons for this are that the club is being run for gain in a way that mocks me and every other person with an emotional interest in what was formerly known as Newcastle United. It’s humiliating to allow it to continue. However, I do not think that there is value in staying away to financially starve Ashley out.

If Ashley plans to take £50 million out of the club across the season and Clive from Wallsend chucks in £600 worth of season ticket, Ashley will not revise that figure down to £49,999,400. He’ll take £50 mill and the club will take a hit for the lost ticket money. All tickets bought go direct to the club you see and all activities need to look above board for those end of year financial results.

I am in a position now where I can only assume the reason Ashley won’t part with the club is some kind of merchandise arrangement where all sales of club kit, tat and caboodle go through Sports Direct. It’s an oft repeated story that Rangers only saw around 12p of each kit sold due to Ashley’s arrangement. With his total control of NUFC that is likely higher and to that end I would consider a blanket boycott of all club merchandise to be the most effective way to disenfranchise Ashley. Everyone should avoid.

The match, in my opinion, should be more of a statement. I expect it to be under capacity against Arsenal. If the boycott is advertised wider, disgruntled folk who aren’t on social media, or who experience an epiphany when Arsenal stuff us, may join in for future games and the impact will grow by the time Sky turn up again for Brighton’s visit in late September.

An emptying ground though will lose its impact over time, as the Ashley friendly media spread chat of Newcastle fans giving up on their club’s relegation battle. I would suggest there is a stronger point to be made as time goes on by fully attending a game and making a point.

Chuck things on the pitch, wave hankies, make noise, draw attention to the fact we’ve had enough and the pain isn’t going away until fatso transforms into a willing seller. The gate money spent on filling a few games would be incidental, probably go towards paying El Mohamady’s wages instead of sacking half the ticket office staff. I’ll gladly report on these events.

I hope something special happens in the next 12 months so I can look forward to going again. I hope there’s a statement made, at least against Arsenal but ideally longer term.

At the same time I find wetting your pants hysterically on the internet and wishing death on people who have a different outlook to you is a sign of deep personal insecurity underpinned by an impressive lack of understanding of a) how Ashley makes money from the club and b) what percentage of the income goes through the turnstile.

It’s going to be a sh.. season that ends in relegation. Just be nice to each other eh?

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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