I received an email from a supporter who we shall call “Mile High Geordie”. I thought the message they wanted to share was really valuable. So now I will step back and let you read his great, raw message about Newcastle United.
In a way I have to hand it to Mike Ashley. Imagine you’re so rich, arrogant and greedy, that you would screw over an entire set of fans 1 week before the new season officially starts and run off for a holiday in the States while it all implodes back home. I just imagine when something bad happens in the world, Mike Ashley shouts out, “Hold my beer”.
You see Ashley likes to gamble, he’s notorious for late nights at the Casino throwing his cash around. He also likes to win, but not football. That’s a fools game to him. He likes to win at business. He likes to buy low, liquidate assets and turn a profit. He loves zero hour contracts, poor culture and pathetic working conditions that result in nice margins. He doesn’t give a crap about Newcastle fans, he actually dislikes us. Unlike his employees and yes-men who he can fire for being late, not selling enough merchandise or failing to turn a big enough profit. He actually has to suffer our noise, our anger, our ‘complaining’. He also knows he needs us, that’s why he’s such a jerk.
He’s the angry, bitter restaurant owner who needs just enough customers to keep the lights on, but yelp reviews be damned if he’s going to wash the plates before he serves up any food.
He’s gambling again. Why give Rafa control? Why spend the 100 million needed to make the team competitive and another 50 million to improve the academy and training facilities? Why on earth would he agree to spend millions on players over 26 or accept that he needs to rethink the payroll budget? ‘To win something?’ Winning a trophy to Ashley is an expensive waste of money that he doesn’t care about and it’s a much bigger financial gamble than ‘winning’ 17th each season with minimum investment for high returns. He’s found a cash cow formula in finding cheap talent and selling it on. Watch out Perez, Longstaff, Schar, Shelvey, Lascelles, Dubravka maybe even Almiron… Get ready for more loan signings and cheap young players who might work out.
I know, you know all this. It’s been over a decade of this behavior and we’re numb to it. So now what? Well, there’s one thing that’s left.
Don’t go to the match. You just can’t!
Newcastle has one of the best consistent home attendances in the world of football. Newcastle constantly sells out, home and away. So imagine the reaction in football, the national press, If 80% of the ground against Arsenal is empty. It is a car wreck even arrogant Ashley can’t ignore.
It also kicks him where it hurts - his bottom line. Newcastle turns a tidy profit on match days with food & beverage, merchandise sales, same day ticket sales, vendor contracts and business deals for suites
“Yeah but the food and beverage is already outsourced and paid for.”
Do you really think the companies with those vendor contracts will be happy or looking to renew if they lose 20k+ on the first match of the season? How many would be lining up to take on that contract?
“But what about a sit in?” NO! I’ve seen that movie before and most people want to go home after the match and IT NEVER WORKS. It’s also causing stress between fans and stewards and does not generate the sympathy in the press needed.
“What about a protest on the steps?” No one cares, it will barely make a ripple in the news cycle.
There will always be fans who just don’t care, they’re fine with puttering along, going to the match and moaning into their pie and chips while Ashley laughs it up in his newly refurbished directors box. Spoiler alert, you’re part of the problem.
I do get it, we’re loyal like an abused Dog waiting for some love. Personally I’d consider selling my first born for a league title and a few cup runs to Wembley (don’t tell my wife). I grew up in the North East dreaming of playing for Newcastle, waiting for years on the season ticket list until I finally had my seat in the Gallowgate, going to cup games on the bus with my mates, skipping school to see the team train, making my Dad drive to St James’ and stand in the drizzle for hours waiting for a glimpse of Alan Shearer when he signed. I am mad about Newcastle United and at times it kills me to live so far from home now but it’s always with me, it’s part of me and this slow death needs to end.
So I get it, saying to a fan “Just don’t go” is loaded, it’s not easy and I know when you hear that from fans who aren’t in Newcastle or have a season ticket it doesn’t relate or you think we don’t get it. It is, however, the only way any change will happen.
The fan groups, talking heads, former players, local press all need to get behind the fact the ONLY way anything will change at Newcastle United is when Ashley leaves and the only way that will happen is if he’s motivated to sell.
Empty seats and empty stores will do that.
Don’t let him win!