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Opinion

Why I won’t boycott the Arsenal game

1 month ago
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In what has been one of the darkest summers in the history of Newcastle United Football Club, I have watched with admiration as fans have rallied together with the ultimate goal of forcing Mike Ashley to sell up.

Whether it’s boycotting the matches, protesting outside the ground or one of his Sports Direct stores, the ongoing neglect of our club, which saw Rafael Benitez walk away, appears to have mobilised our support into action like never before.

However, unlike many of my fellow fans, I won’t be joining the boycott of the first match of the season or any of the ones after. I have huge amounts of respect for anybody that chooses to do so but for me it just isn’t an option.

If Mike Ashley stops me from going to the match then he really has won.

I no longer live in the area, making the drive from Manchester for home games, and to me watching Newcastle United is about more than winning or losing football matches.

It’s about the long drive in anticipation of the game to come, listening to the pre-match build up on the radio.

It’s about spending time with your family and friends. It’s about the pint before the match when you discuss the team news and whether or not we are going to win or lose.

It’s about the celebratory pint after the game or the one you have to cheer yourself up. The match, or the result, is often immaterial. Of course I’m always disappointed or frustrated when we lose.

Do I wish Mike Ashley would show more ambition or sell up and move on?

Of course I do. But Newcastle United, and football in general should be about so much more than that.

We’re not Manchester United or Arsenal. We can’t allow our enjoyment and experience of the game to be solely defined by success or failure.

I don’t want to be one of those Liverpool fans that complain about their long wait for a league title. Try going back to 1927.

Our proud history isn’t built on the solid foundations of trophies collected but on the backs of thousands of supporters who have supported our club through thick and thin.

Our history is about the moments that surprise you.

The hard fought win over Manchester City on a cold bitter night in January.

That win at Old Trafford in 2013.

The ripple around the ground and the explosion of excitement when we realised Jack Grealish had scored and we had won the league against the odds in 2017.

When Cheick Tiote swung his left foot at that dropping ball.

When Chris Hughton masterminded the humiliation of Sunderland in 2010.

It is these moments that will keep me in my seat. Because if you aren’t there though for the bad, you might just miss the good as well.

Regardless of what is going on off the field, I believe it is my duty as a supporter to get behind the 11 players on the pitch every week.

They are considerably better than they are often given credit for and I fervently hope, with our support, they will continue to punch above their weight and retain our Premier League status once more.

Because that’s where this club and our fans deserve to be. At football’s top table, slugging it out with the giants of world football.

It’s the only way we’ll get rid of Ashley as well. Nobody will want us in the Championship.

It is our support that make this club unique.

Without it, we have nothing and our club is nothing.

We have to keep the faith.

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