With the international break clogging the football calendar with its pointlessness, the NUFC Daily has had a few days off to reflect about issues that pertain to the club and certain events that are coming up that could shape the course of our season, nay, our very future. I am talking of course, about the Time4Change protest march that is due to take place next Saturday 19th October in Newcastle City Centre at 10.30am.
I personally wish to make it abundantly clear that I am in total support of the protest march, and true to form, I will outline exactly why this is the case.
I once thought that Newcastle United fans were the best fans in the country because win, lose or draw, we always roared on our troops. We would accept all manner of ills to show our support for Newcastle United. However, instead of seeing this as a strength, this has now become our greatest weakness as we are now willing to accept the mindless mediocrity and stifling lack of ambition of our rather rotund owner, Mike Ashley.
We have seemed to have forgotten what Newcastle United once meant to this city, to football fans in general, and what the brand Newcastle United had done in the past to reach vast swathes of supporters up and down the country, and even further afield. Had it not been for the grace, poise, and excellence of Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers, I may never have become a Newcastle United fan, having grown up in Ireland.
Is it a strength for 52,000 fans to continue going in to St James’ Park to watch Hull City walk all over us? Is it strength to try to justify the embarrassing performance against Everton? Is it strength to use balance sheets and financial reports to claim that Mike Ashley is a good owner? Is it strength to overlook the desecration of 2 club legends? Is it strength to forget about the renaming of our famous stadium? Is it strength to accept our sponsorship deal with Wonga? Is it strength to allow the likes of Alan Pardew and Joe Kinnear to be in capacities of responsibility of such a historic institution like Newcastle United?
No, it is not strength. It is weakness. It is worse than weakness, it is an insidious apathy that has gripped this club that has allowed such disgraceful treatment to go unpunished. Mike Ashley is making a mockery of this club and its fans and some fans are sitting back, taking it on the chin, and going back for seconds.
I am not slating the unwavering loyalty of season ticket holders who have paid hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, to demonstrate their support for this football club. However, there comes a point where the greater good is more important than your own personal wants and desires. The greater good is the health and long-term future of Newcastle United, and we need to make sacrifices, however great or small in order to protect our football club.
Now we’ve been faced with an opportunity of saying “no more! Enough is enough!” Fans group Time4Change have organised a protest march in the city centre next Saturday on the morning of the Liverpool game in an attempt to do just that. This is an opportunity for fans to make their voice heard, to stand side by side with their fellow Newcastle United fans and claim back some of the dignity that Mike Ashley has tried to take from us in the last 6 years.
Remember the treatment of Keegan. Remember the relegation. Remember the sacking of Hughton. Remember the lies that were told about Andy Carroll’s transfer. Remember the lack of investment. Remember the decision to hire Kinnear. Remember the renaming of St James’ Park and take your place in a movement that will be our chance to, legally and peacefully, show the football world that we are not the people of the bleak north of England, we’re not deluded fools with overly high expectations, we are passionate football fans who want to reclaim our football club for ourselves.
Mike Ashley may not listen to us, he may not care, he may not even clock what is going on. But who cares? This is about uniting what has become an increasingly divided fan base.
We fans may not agree about how we need to change. But surely we can agree that change is necessary, and just like the fans group who have organised the march, I too, believe it is Time4Change at Newcastle United. If you do too, then there is only one thing for you to do. Show up on Saturday in support of your football club, in support of your fans, in support of the football institution that we all hold dear, and march for its future.