Will Ashley Listen?
Will Saturday's Newcastle United fans' march make a point? What point are they trying to make?
The organisers of this Saturday’s Time 4 Change march against the Mike Ashley regime are hopeful of at least 1,000 people turning up, and I can see that happening.
But will Mike Ashley take the hint and leave the club? Will he hell! And why should he?
The Chronicle claims today: "Someone inside the club I spoke to last week believes they will be lucky to get 100."
The group of disgruntled Newcastle United fans, and I have seen them at NU Supporters meetings, are genuine in their grievance.
I repect their feelings, and I understand that something SHOULD be done to get Ashley to simply talk to the fans, but I don't believe for one second anything will come from it.
Any claims of them being a less than silent minority could be proved wrong, but Ashley is his own man. He answers to nobody. And Newcastle United is nothing more that a toy he uses every now and again when he's bored.
It's all down to money. He has £3billion, and sadly, he can do what the hell he wants.
Nobody - and I mean NOBODY - can tell him what to do.
He bought the club, it's his property, and if NUFC is valued at £100m ... what is £100m to him?
It's loose change! And the worrying thing is ... if he wants to pull the plug on the club ... and I mean CLOSE IT DOWN ... he has that power!
Ashley is a liability, no doubt about it, but what can we do? And I don't think we will win anything as long as he pulls the strings.
But then again, I'd rather see the back of Alan Pardew than Ashley. And I seriously mean that.
As long as Ashley is here, the flak is diverted away from the manager.
Ashley wants rid of Pardew, and we all know that, and it's that eight year contract that keeps Pardew in a job. Ashley won't sack him because it will cost the club £10m-plus.
But, if Ashley goes, Joe Kinnear will be pushed into the job, and that WOULD be a problem!
It's a Catch 22 situation.
Time 4 Change answer the questions.
Why do you want supporters to join a protest march before the Liverpool game?
T4C: “We have felt the utter frustration, like many other fans, at the way the club has been run by Mike Ashley.
“Some of the complaints have been well-rehearsed: The sacking of managers, the changing of the stadium’s name, the Wonga deal and the puzzling re-appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football.
“What is of real concern to us now is repeated club statements appear to suggest it lacks direction, ambition and is failing loyal fans who have put so much time, loyalty and money into supporting the team.
"The club has been through bad times before, but since finishing in fifth place, the club has revised and budgeted itstargets down for two consecutive seasons.
“At the same time it has said it regards cup competitions not as a priority, but as a chance to run the rule over our very small squad of reserves.
“We contend that something fundamental has changed and the club has now admitted it has little intent to attempt competitive football.”
What do you think a protest march will achieve?
T4C: “We are not naive enough to think one march will suddenly make Ashley pack up and sell up.
“The march, however, can be very significant symbolically, especially if it manages to unite the fans.
“Just as it has on a small scale during the organisation of this march, it is a wonderful way of bringing people who had not previously mettogether, and realising we share so many things in common and can gain strength in unity.
“If Ashley has been successful in anything during his reign it has been his unerring ability to divide and conquer the supporters; be it the fragmentation of the singing section in level sevenwhich led to tensions elsewhere in the ground with other fans, or his ability to create amateur accountants out of passionate football fans.”
What are the arrangements for the protest march?
T4C: “The march is legal and sanctioned by the council and the police. It has been organised and paid for by individual donations and groups giving up their time to ensure every interested fan has the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to march.
"There are no ulterior motives other than to make the owner and the football world aware not all Newcastle fans are content in doing nothing.
“The gathering point for the march will be on the pedestrian part of Northumberland Road (next to the City Hall) from 10.30am on Saturday and will proceed through the city centre, past the ground and end at the bandstand in Leazes Park, where there will be one or two short speeches before dispersal for the match.
“The march has had a full health and safety check, will be accompanied by volunteer stewards and match-day policemen with rolling road closures as it progresses."
Some supporters are wary of joining protest movements because previous supporters’ protests have been perceived as being poorly organised and embarrassing. How will Time 4 Change be different?
T4C: “This protest is properly organised and we have faith in the fans who attend to conduct themselves in the right manner.
“We appeal to all fans to come forward and march to ensure it is successful.
“The only previous mass supporters protests we can recall in recent times were in the aftermath of the Kevin Keegan resignation in 2008 at the Hull City game, when quite understandably, there was much vitriolic anger.
“Most of these were not officially sanctioned. This created a somewhat toxic atmosphere outside and inside the ground that day.
“We think the climate is different to 2008. What we want is a successful, incident-ree march and then everyone who is attending the match to go inside and make it one of the best atmospheres worthy of a top fixture.
“We have given guarantees to the police we will not organise or call for any protest which will contravene the stadium rules or break the law.
“However, we do want to make a point in front of the cameras and the watching millions.
“With this in mind we are calling for fans to take to the match white handkerchiefs (even serviettes/paper will do) and upon the teams entering the pitch prior to the kick off, waving them in the air to signal we are ‘calling time’ on the Ashley Regime. This as you know, is a simple form of protest usually practiced on the continent to signal fans disapproval.
“After that is done, we want everyone to back the team all the way.
“This simple form of visual protest will be reliant on many people, whom for whatever reason, did not make the march, but gives everyone the opportunity to show they too think it is time for change.
“This ‘white hankie’ protest would show the TV audience the fans do have a valid voice and opinion, but also that they refuse to turn their backs on the team.
“It is this passion and untapped potential which we hope one day will appeal to more responsible and receptive investors.”
Source: Newcastle United Mad
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