Happy Monday people, as you may (or may not) have noticed, your ‘esteemed’ editor has been lying dormant for little over a week now for a number of reasons. Primarily due to shock following yet another derby defeat, our 3rd consecutive defeat to the Mackems for the first time since 1922/23. On top of that fact was the similarly significant departure of Yohan Cabaye, and the subsequent failure to replace our best player. As we sit in 8th place in the season following a dismal hammering at the hands of title contenders Chelsea at the weekend, pretty much adrift from the European places, and knocked out of all the cups, it would appear to be a decent time to ask – “where are we going this season?”
Many would suggest that sitting in 8th represents progress and stability, and while our cup failings are disappointing, they are forgiveable as we have performed reasonably well in the league. While others would suggest that Ashley has the club exactly where he wants them, not near enough the dreaded European places which so nearly cost us our league status last season, yet far enough from the drop that we could afford to flog our best player mid-season without replacing him.
Regardless of what your perspective is on our season, one thing we surely can all agree on is that our season is now over. The selling of Yohan Cabaye without replacement is as clear an indication of the lack of ambition currently emanating from SJP and the myth that we have a relatively strong squad has been dispelled. The injuries and suspensions suffered in recent times have rendered our paper-thin squad even smaller. We are lacking any form of quality up front, and Tiote’s absence meant that Santon, a supposed left back, had to perform against a Chelsea midfield who dominated Manchester City at the Eitihad. He didn’t disgrace himself, but the very fact that he was thrown in there shows how short of options we really are.
It may seem abhorrent to some fans to even think about protesting while we are in the top half of the table. These people’s thought around the club seem to ebb and flow with every passing result, showing no consistency in their mindsets. We could win every game between now and the end of the season and Mike Ashley will not change the way he runs this football club – he will still fail to adequately invest in the first team. We will still have an Academy that falls short of our local rivals Sunderland (and even Middlesbrough). We will still have an average manager, with average coaches. We will still have poor communication between the club and the fans – despite the fraudulent construct of the UEFA directed Fan’s Forum and the ‘best efforts’ of Supporter Liaison Officer/club spin doctor Lee Marshall.
Results will not change any of these facts. If anything, they will ensure that the club is mismanaged going further. Consider this. Would Mike Ashley have sold Yohan Cabaye had we been sitting 3 points off the drop? Not on your life. If anything, had our league form been suffering, we may have seen 1 or 2 additions to the first team squad. Compare last January’s business to this January’s business and that is the only logical inference. Ashley will spend cash simply to keep NUFC in the league – if that has been assured then the chequebook remains closed. Simple.
What can you do as a fan if you do not like the way the club is run? Well in my last article I informed season ticket holders that if they wanted to cancel their season ticket, they would need to inform the club by the 31st January. By all accounts, plenty of season ticket holders have decided not to renew their tickets for next season, and it will be interesting if one could get a hold of the number of cancellations this season.
If refusing to go to SJP is too much of a sacrifice, you can still stick it to Ashley by boycotting all outlets and retailers within the ground. Do not buy any food/drink, club merchandise, or match-day programmes. It will all eventually add up.
Want to get more involved in activism? The Mike Ashley Out campaign are calling on volunteers to help with their campaign against Mike Ashley. If you want to check out the Mike Ashley Out Facebook page you can find the link here
Our season is over. In all likelihood, every season from now on could well take on this same pattern. Safe in the league by Christmas, out of the cups before the end of January, while our best players go off to pastures new to win silverware and compete at the highest level. Let’s take some action now, let’s get our bums off our seats and defend what this club stands for. Together we can make a difference.