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These numbers are all important because they tell us how to hurt Mike Ashley

3 years ago
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Starve the fever that is Mike Ashley.

In the wake of the £605m tax fine Sports Direct received last week from Belgian authorities, the Evening Standard has run the numbers and are reporting today that, due to a severe drop in SD share price, Mike Ashley had lost a further £83m in terms of his paper value. Now, to me, that’s quite a lot of money.

Guys, it’s working.

Money is all this man cares about. Sports Direct is his baby. It’s his livelihood. It gave him his arrogance, fame, and fortune. It gave him Newcastle United. It gave him you.

With every fan who walks through those turnstiles, Mike Ashley owns you just that little bit more. You’re feeding the infection paralysing our club.

Every extra fan who chooses not to hand over their hard-earned cash, it hurts him.

What is they say, starve a fever? Well, our club is on fire.

Over the last 11 or so years, I’ve seen article after article, social media post after post, sharing their concerns and disgust over how Newcastle is being run. However, this time, we have traction.

Now, we may not have necessarily slapped him with the tax fine (thank you, Belgium) but we have contributed to the share price. This is an opportunity to contribute to his downfall. Seriously, if you need any more convincing to stay away from club merchandise, Sports Direct and SJP, then I don’t know what it will take.

Here’s a rundown of some numbers:

According to the 2017-18 season, St James Park matchday revenue came to around £24m. A staggering 39,500 season ticket holders. Our average attendance was 51,992 in 2017/18.

2017-18 season: TV and broadcasting came to around £126m based on finishing 10th and 18 live TV appearances.

It’s reported that 7% of all football replica shirts sold in Sports Direct are bought by Newcastle fans. With the price now set £65, the highest in the league, that’s a lot of money. Let’s say 52,000 of those are sold, if only to fill SJP with a sea of black and white—that’s £3.4m.

Sponsors are important. They want their logo proudly displayed on the chest of those players you support. They want world-wide coverage and awareness of their brand, as much as possible. Commercial revenue came to £26.7m last season. New sponsors were announced recently.

The Newcastle United turnover in 2017/18 (the latest available figures) was £178.5m in total.

These numbers are all important because they tell us how to hurt Mike Ashley.

We have some control over these.

Even if you can’t stay away from SJP for every game (understandable), a boycott of merchandise and Sports Direct shopping will hit him hard.

By not attending the games where matches are due to be televised, you are hitting the sponsors (they’re mostly betting companies anyway, what kind of message do we want to send kids there, eh?) and TV companies hard.

Newcastle will be less likely to be televised and so, will receive less money (we received around £6m more than Watford for example, purely due to the sheer number of our matches being televised in comparison, even though they finished higher in the league).

If we can impact Ashley, show him that Newcastle United is less valuable than his terrible sporting goods store, then he will be more likely to sell up and be on his merry way (I’m not going to go into the selling of the club because it’s been written more times than the Bible—we all know why it’s not selling).

That leads me on to the #BoycottArsenal campaign by a number of anti-Ashley groups out there. They have a point. One match. That’s all they’re talking about.

Why, you ask? I’ve seen many responders to posts saying it won’t do a lick of good because he’ll still make money, because he’ll still laugh at us, and this, that, the other.

It will hurt him because it sends a message. It sends a message to those behind the TV cameras pumping money into the club that we can’t stand it anymore.

It brings up the discussion, time and time again to those so-called pundits that we’re not going to take this abuse lying down.

It forces people to take notice. And that’s what we want.

We want all eyes on Mr Ashley. We want his share prices to suffer as a result of negativity. We want a toxic atmosphere. We want change.

After his now infamous ‘interview’ with a compliant Daily Mail, the sympathisers out there (Keys, Gray, Wise, Ferdinand, pretty much all of TalkSPORT radio, and the rather disappointing Nolan and Ameobi, etc.) are running once again to his side to fan his multiple chins and feed him grapes.

A boycott for one match, even if you’ve bought your season ticket, will be the perfect counter to his claims that he only wants the best for our club and that he’s naive and innocent in all this. After that, you can get more creative with sit-ins (which could ramp up the costs of cleaning SJP, staff hours, etc. but allow you to see the game), disrupting matches by throwing balls on the pitch, banners, or a somewhat Guy Fawkes-type situation on the centre circle. But for now, we need to do something together. That’s what important.

This is the biggest campaign yet. Spread the word, even if you don’t believe in it, there may be fans attending the game you know of that aren’t aware of this initiative. Let them make their own decisions. If you choose to attend and they don’t, that can be their choice. No doubt you will shout louder for the two of you but respect their decision not to go.

Local businesses have opened their doors to Newcastle fans with great deals and a TV to watch the game on. This is being called ‘Support Our Toon’.

I’m not going to bash those who want to attend.

Hell, I live around 300 miles from Newcastle but would jump at the chance of going to SJP to watch them any day of the week.

But those numbers from earlier, if we can reduce the number of shirts sold, matchday revenue, and impact on the commercial revenue also, we’d have one pi..ed off owner on our hands who would surely want out as soon as possible. After all, that’s why he’s keeping us, right?

He can’t want to keep Newcastle United for the sheer joy of hearing 50k Geordies chanting they want him out and call him all the names under the sun (not to mention the Arya Stark type list I chant before bed every night).

If you’re unhappy with the regime, do something about it. It can be all of the above or just one thing – but do it all season. Commit.

More than one million fans visited St James’ Park for Newcastle’s home games last season. That’s four times the population of the city. Whilst £21m was spent in the local area by visiting fans.

You want something else to do on matchday, you want that feeling of camaraderie and unity, go somewhere showing the game and spend your money there.

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