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Opinion

Being better than those we oppose – Mike Ashley, Trolls and those who aren’t convinced so far

11 months ago
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Earlier today, I read the Sunday Times article about big Mike’s relationships with the two largest sportswear manufacturers (Adidas and Nike), it’s quite enlightening.

His baby – the name of which I can’t even bring myself to write – is becoming rather irrelevant in today’s market. Ashley’s market was the market created by the economic apocalypse of 2008.

As soon as the employment levels began to creep very slowly upwards, the consumers suddenly had a little more money in their pockets and reverted back to their normal spending habits: they wanted the newest, most coveted things. Ashley is a provider of cheap tat and, generally speaking, the people are no longer being driven to that by circumstance.

As the article also points out, Ashley’s general odious way of being, has meant that his relationship with the most coveted retailers has worsened greatly in recent times. His wheeling and dealing has caused a great deal of friction with Adidas, particularly in the past. If Mike can’t get his curry and lager stained fingers on the most coveted products, made by the most coveted retailers, his share in the market will, inevitably, fall.

The article also goes on to say that his relationships with these companies isn’t completely dead, they call him up when they need some trainer or other to be pushed. Ashley gets the almost-new-line of shoes on the cheap, sells them cheap, and everyone is happy. They do not call him though, when they have a brand-new release.

In a desperate bid to bring the world’s sportswear giants back into his sweaty bed, he has put on his tightest dress, slapped on some eyeliner and is trying to redefine the sordid, crass, cheap image that is elicited when the words **insert the previously too difficult to speak words here**, are thought of. New, fancy store redevelopments are an incredibly expensive endeavour, and the chances of genuine success (appearing attractive enough for Nike to go for ride with him, rather than the loyal, dependable, well-run JD) seem pretty minuscule- certainly in the short-to-medium term.

You can roll a sh..e in glitter but it will still stink.

You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig.

Mike Ashley will never go bust, there will always be enough people for whom his empire of dirt provide the only answer to the question ‘Where am I going to get the bairn’s new boots?’, but the fact of the matter is that Ashley has an empire of dirt, and that’s all he’ll ever have.

To be honest, most coverage of NUFC is far too circus-like for me.

You have the mainstream media reporting on the various debacles up here which is straight out of Vladimir Putin’s best seller: Propaganda for Dummies; then you have the other side who are so militant that they become overly-emotional, and get so embroiled in their anger and sadness that they forget to do anything truly meaningful.

I, personally, fully support a boycott of all things Ashley. I think that, even if empty seats don’t get us to the point at which the stain on our great club can finally be removed, there is a very real chance that Nike and Adidas will become aware of our movement, and be even less likely to give Trashley another chance to eat at their table. If we can have a negative impact on his real love, then at least we can all feel satisfied that we have landed a punch to that vast mass of lard that constitutes Mike’s gut.

Alongside the boycott, there must be protests. Why don’t those who would usually be going to Arsenal, but have decided to give it a miss, and those who are equivocating, get together in town before the game, have a couple of pints, discuss how they all feel, and then all head to the stadium in a show of unity against the way the owner is running the club. Those who decide to go into the ground can go in unimpeded, and those who don’t will go and find a pub to watch in. We might gain a few more boycotters that way and the only way to come together is through open and honest discourse. If we’re fighting, we’ll never unite.

Any protest can be small scale at first, a group of twenty can get together before the match and talk. Those who went to that meeting can all tell their pals and more will turn up the next time, and so on, and so forth. The most powerful movements often begin that way. There’s no reason that people on these forums can’t arrange that amongst yourselves. The puerile bitterness often witnessed on this forum (in the comments section), although incredibly entertaining, is perhaps the largest thing getting in the way of any really forceful movement.

There will always be doylems (from the comments section) like the Mad Monk of Monkseaton who will go to the match and support the team (regime) blindly, and there will always be trolls (insert any number of names), who get a rush of endorphins when they get a reactive reply to one of their divisive comments. These people have always, and will always, exist.

Those of us who care so much about our club that we have to sever our immediate ties with it in the hopes that our physical and emotional distance will mean it’s eventual survival, claim that we are better than the trolls and the deluded, but now is the time to actually show that we are better.

We must stand united against our enemy but also be welcoming of those who come to us late. We must have discussions with those who are yet to be convinced about Ashley’s evil, without descending into abuse. If someone wants to call you an idiot for standing up to the oaf, then more-fool-them. They are most likely throwing the insults around due to their own insecurities, and, who knows, the man, woman, or child standing next to that sorry insecure soul (or reading their bizarre and usually incoherent public forum rambles) might be the next person persuaded to join the side of the living.

If you bite upon all the hooks Ashley and his acolytes are baiting, you’ll only serve to be doing his work for him. Reasoned discourse is the only way to get the masses on side.

Let’s be united and get United back.

It’s a long season, there will be plenty of opportunities to recruit new boycotters as the year falls away. Particularly with ‘The Geordie’ in charge.

The Arsenal match isn’t going to be a fair gauge of how protests will be in the future, we must remain strong and eventually, who knows, we might even get the caveat of a Standen boycott.

All I know is that doing nothing gets no results. If we can make life uncomfortable for the canker-sore owning our club, then we can count ourselves at least vaguely successful.

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