clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Newly Formed Protest Group United Against Ashley Announces First Set of Protests

The “radical” protest group has put forth some dates and floated ideas, but nobody really knows what’s going on and it seems as if the protest group doesn’t either.

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
United Against Ashley is a group that broke off from the popular Leazes Flags Supporters group
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

After announcing their formation a week ago , United Against Ashley seems ready to take action in their goal of eliminating Mike Ashley from the club.

The group was formed with the promise of taking a more direct approach when it came to protesting the acts performed by Mike Ashley and Newcastle United. Many fans interpreted this as the group being a more “radical” protest group.

Fans got a glimpse into what types of protest United Against Ashley were going to undertake when details of their first planned protest against Cardiff (which failed) were revealed. The group claims that they were going to march into the directors box, but were escorted out when trying to do so.

This idea of even marching into the directors box is an ambitious one that likely would require a lot of logistical planning. The issue with the United Against Ashley’s first act of protest seems to be poor planning and lack of common sense, as the group was not expecting a heightened sense of security in the directors box despite it being common knowledge at the time of the protest that Mike Ashley was making a surprise appearance at the match.

The group went on later in the week to announce that they were working with local authorities to cause a massive disruption when Newcastle plays Burnley on the 27th of February.

Again, fans are left in the dark about what this means or what will actually happen, but are expected to show support for the group and continue to Retweet to spread awareness about an event nobody knows anything about. The motivations of being so secretive revolve around a fear that the club would prevent any potential protest from happening.

This mentality is a double edged sword, as the group is struggling to gain support because people don’t know what they are supporting. Additionally, the group doesn’t appear to have the organization, nor seem to have the openness for feedback on ideas that The Magpie Group has (or attempts to have). This, in addition to one failed protest has really hindered the group’s growth and has resulted in the group being subjected to constant questioning from fans as to why the group does not just work with The Magpie Group.

The response from the group has now morphed into creating a narrative that multiple protests from different groups at the same time would create a mass display of protest that the club could not handle.

The idea makes sense in theory, but this stance was in response to a tweet that points out the most successful protests that enacted change in the footballing world were done by large singular protest groups.

Going along with their theme of multiple protests at the same time to create a ton of disruption, the group has announced two protests for the upcoming Man City match. The Manchester City match is an important game for the public perception of the club by both Newcastle fans, and the rest of the world’s football fans. The match is going to be televised in the UK, and in America, is right before season ticket renewals, and is right before the end of the transfer window. This is a perfect storm of issues that allows for protests to be noticed and to actually force the club to take action.

The Magpie Group already announced a sit-in for the match, which is actually a good idea. It has a similar effect of a boycott, as it will be embarrassing for the club as well as draw tons of media attention, and it pleases fans who did not want to do a boycott because it would result in them missing a game. The sit-in was met with great praise by many fans as it seems like it will be a genuinely good idea.

United Against Ashley inserted their own protests into the mix that could possibly draw even more media attention, but don’t appear to be as well thought out or maintain a level of secrecy that is a bit worrying to some fans.

The group has proposed that fans throw tons of chocolate coins onto the pitch.

The group does not really provide any details about when the coins should be thrown on the pitch, just a guideline saying when it would be safe to throw coins on the pitch.

The protest may appear very unorganized because the group hasn’t provided any sort of details like what minute to throw the coins or where to get the coins, because it actually is a very unorganized effort. In fact, anyone following the account on Twitter literally saw them plan out the protest before our very eyes.

The group started a couple of days ago by commenting on tennis balls being thrown on the pitch at a Bolton Wanderers match.

The group then suggested yesterday ( 5 days before the match!), that everyone order plastic pigs to throw on the pitch against Man City.

When other fans pointed out the logistical flaws in this plan including price, and getting the pigs delivered on time the group began to have second thoughts. Furthermore, some fans thought tennis balls would have been just as effective and easier to obtain. Finally, one fan suggested the group do chocolate coins as they are cheaper and can be purchased locally.

United Against Ashley then proceeded to tweet out that they don’t care what anyone buys to throw on the pitch as long as they buy something to throw on the pitch.

The group then went on to announce that the official protest was going to be throwing the chocolate coins on the pitch, for anyone who was not involved in a separate United Against Ashley protest.

This effectively also announced that they have another protest planned for Tuesday’s match but, like previous efforts will remain a secret. Again, people had questions as to why the protests needed to be secret, and the group is still running with the narrative that if the club finds out the protest will be neutralized. Additionally, the group is now claiming that they will upset fans whether they release plans for the protest or not, and are now calling for essentially blind belief in their protests.

This of course ignores the fact that their previous protest was neutralized due to lack of planning on their behalf, and it seems as this one could meet the same fate. A week of planning for a substantial protest does seem like a short amount of time, and i would be lying if I said I felt confident that this additional protest is even going to happen. In fact, I don’t think either of the United Against Ashley Protests will actually happen because the group doesn't seem organized enough to pull of any sort of protest.

Additionally, the group does not seem to be considering the ramifications of their actions. “Visiting” the director’s box, which is a restricted area, could have resulted in fans being banned from St. James. Throwing things on the pitch could even result in arrests as supporters group Wor Hyem points out. The biggest fear of course, is that people could be arrested, because it is unsure how many people are actually going to participate in this coin throwing protest. This is something the United Against Ashley Group has failed to comment on and it seems as it is something they did not even consider when “planning” this protest.

The multitude of protests going on will be something to pay attention to as this match against Man City has the potential to drastically change the club, or further create a divide among fans. Additionally, unorganized and not unified protests could create an image of chaos, effectively branding Newcastle fans as chaotic, unorganized and delusional. Further fueling the PR campaign in support of Ashley and against fans. These protests may not even be effective and could be embarrassing as previous protests this year have not gathered much steam despite tons of people knowing about them.

Whatever the case may be, the world will be watching Tuesday as the situations surrounding the club and its fans will be put underneath a microscope.