This is truly a big statement to make. To stand behind your manager and your club is one thing, but to say that if he isn’t there, neither are we is something much larger. It’s one that I’m hesitant to make, even though I’m a fan of multiple football teams across the world.
Real Madrid, Olympique de Marseilles, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, and the Seattle Sounders. I follow them all, but none more than Newcastle United. I’m a lifelong fan of these teams, but will always cheer for Newcastle United more than anything in the world. These teams are great, but Newcastle is irreplaceable, and I admitted that as soon as I became a fan of the black and white.
I’m a fan of the club, not the owner. And while there are some fans who are pissing off other fans because of what they consider blind loyalty to Mike Ashley, it shows a lack of understanding. To buy the merchandise, support the team, and show up for matches is being a fan of the club. What else is a fan to do?
It’s a tough situation to be in. With an owner that seemingly doesn’t care, and a manager that wants to give everything to the fans and to the club but is unable to with current management. It’s not ideal for any fan. It sucks to have an owner that only cares about money, and that acts like he wants to get rid of the club, but then is quoted as saying that he’s “wedded” to Newcastle.
It’s not fair to Rafa Benitez who has the ability to challenge for trophies if he was given proper backing. But looking at the other side, is it fair to Ashley who believes he’s already backed Rafa to the hilt? Ashley is so stubborn he will never see the error of his ways. And he’s so greedy that it is unlikely the club will ever find a “suitable” buyer.
I dislike Mike Ashley. I believe that he’s one of the worst owners in the history of the sport, and as soon as he is ousted, he should be banned from any involvement with the FA in the future. But I myself cannot say that I will leave the club if Rafa goes. I’m unwilling to give up on my childhood club. The one that produced the likes of Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, and David Ginola. And I support the club in the hopes that we’ll see those days again.
Let me reiterate that I support the club, and not the owner. I supported Olympique de Marseilles when their owner was doing an abysmal job because I love the club and want to see them, and only them, succeed in Ligue 1.
There is no other team I want to support fully than Newcastle United. More than Ashley, I am wedded to this club. I can’t bring myself to stand and cheer for a team other than the one I grew up loving.
I know this article could be divisive. Fans may see it as me telling us to not put any pressure on Ashley. Let me be clear that that is not what I’m proposing in the slightest. What the #IfRafaGoesWeGo movement is doing is amazing. The pressure put on Sports Direct and Mike Ashley has been amazing and I truly believe that this movement is responsible for so much. It’s really a positive movement, and one that I support.
But I’ll always be a Newcastle United fan until the bitter end. Whether it be in the Premier League or with Sunderland in League One, I will never stop bleeding black and white.
Howay the Lads!