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Opinion

‘Newcastle United fans have lost the ability to protest’

2 months ago
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I read Arty’s article (Newcastle United fans need to follow this example set by Manchester United fans) on The Mag on Monday with interest.

Initially, I believed it was encouraging the type of unlawful behaviour seen at Old Trafford on Sunday, which I wouldn’t condone, but reading on I realised that this was not the case.

Of course, I can fully understand the frustration of Manchester United fans after the last 16 terrible years that they have had – he said sarcastically.

I’m also a pensioner, having attended NUFC since 1966 and like most, I see no hope in the current regime. We’ve nearly escaped relegation but face the same next season. I’ve never attended a demonstration in my life but have started my own little demonstrations over the current regime; season ticket packed in, attending the odd match only.

I recall the first game of last season when a boycott was called for the Arsenal game. I sat in my usual bar with my mate as fans started finishing their beers and drifting towards the ground as kick off approached. I recall being laughed at boycotting. We sat and watched it on the pub TV, still sitting as fans drifted back in post-match, thoroughly depressed with what they had just seen but still able to criticise us for not going.

I recall the West Ham match when there was a call to enter the ground late as a protest. I also recall the icy stares as we did so from most that had been there for kick-off.

Talking about West Ham, I’m sure we can recall their fans’ protests over the ownership, no messing around there.

We seem to have completely lost the ability to protest but this season has been the worst yet. Not able to go even if we wanted and make our feeling known but being able to watch the dross in silence on the TV.

I can’t even recall which match it was leading up to Christmas but I was moved to purchase a cabbage, drive into Newcastle and place it on the club gates at St James Park – My own tiny protest. A while later I saw the photograph of my cabbage on Twitter alongside a photograph of the Marseille training ground which their fans had invaded and damaged. It was posted as a demonstration of how little Newcastle fans protest as opposed to other clubs.

I sit every day scanning the usual NUFC fan websites and there is certainly plenty of energy burnt up on the keyboard by frustrated fans.

The Brighton away match was my own personal tipping point this season. For their first day back at training I made the decision to stand directly outside the training ground at 7.45am, masked up because of Covid-19 but proudly (okay, I admit I was slightly embarrassed at my age), displaying my large cabbage on a stick. I gave it an hour, during which time Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce drove past and in (to the training ground), clearly seeing me before I was threatened with arrest by an overzealous security officer for posting a photograph of a cabbage on a stick on Facebook outside of the training ground.

‘’The club aren’t very happy about it’’, he said.

‘’Actually mate, I haven’t been happy with the club for 13 years which is why I am here!’’

The scary thing was that within minutes of me posting the photograph on my own personal Facebook page, the security officers were aware, which tends to indicate that someone from the club actively scans social media and is probably reading this article.

What did I receive for my little protest which harmed no one but may have hurt Steve Bruce’s feelings?

I received a bit of online support but plenty of criticism. Why??

It gladdened my heart when I saw the Leeds United and Liverpool supporters protesting pre-match on the day of the Big six breakaway news. So motivated and wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

I watched the Chelsea and Arsenal fans protesting. Again, two clubs who have hardly seen hard times recently yet their fans seem to have the ability to protest.

I’ve watched Ipswich fans causing disruption at their training ground this season in protest over the way their club is run.

What have we seen from Newcastle United fans in the way of protest these past few years? Not much really and there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for it. Fans that care passionately about the club complain but do nothing about it.

Being in my mid 60s, I don’t think my generation are the ones who should be organising protests. It’s the younger generation who should have the energy and the motivation. It is their future!

Come on, please step up to the plate someone and put forward an idea which will encourage others to follow. Please. Before I’m too old to get up the hill to the ground.

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