FED-UP Newcastle United fans are planning to boycott next week’s home game with Tottenham to protest against the way owner Mike Ashley is running the club.
A social media-driven campaign encouraging supporters to stay away from the Premier League fixture has gained momentum in recent days.
I think Mike Ashley and his minions have run our great club into the ground, and the fans have had enough.Craig Nicholson, @NUFC_Stats
The plans started in the wake of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby – United’s fifth defeat in a row to their fierce rivals.
Using the hashtag #BoycottSpurs, Twitter account @NUFC_Stats – which has more than 30,000 followers – got the ball rolling.
And many supporters on the social networking site have signalled their intent not to attend the game at St James’s Park a week on Sunday.
However, Newcastle head coach John Carver feels the ‘majority’ of supporters will still attend the game.
He said: “People will do what they want to do, but I know the majority will turn up, as they love the club.”
Craig Nicholson, who runs @NUFC_Stats, says the fact the game against Tottenham will be shown live to the nation on Sky Sports means the protest will have the desired effect.
He said: “It’s important people know that the boycott is not just a knee-jerk reaction to losing to Sunderland, nor does it have anything to do with the performance of former manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace.
“The derby was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“I think Mike Ashley and his minions have run our great club into the ground, and the fans have had enough.
“#BoycottSpurs is but a small measure, but a demonstration we believe will make Mr Ashley stand and take notice. An initiative on world TV, where the national media can see, was imperative.
“Mike Ashley needs to know that our fans are now more united than ever, and we don’t want him to be part of our club any longer. This is just the start. It’s about making a stand and fighting to get our club back.
“The message itself is simple: Get out of our club Ashley, your time is up!”
In recent weeks, the website AshleyOut.com has also been launched, while there are plans for protests outside of St James’s Park before, during and after next Sunday’s fixture.
Kris Wallace, from South Shields, runs popular fan site GallowgateShots.com, and believes there will ‘always’ be animosity among supporters towards Mr Ashley.
He said: “A lot of fans are under the impression that ‘Mike Ashley has already received your season ticket money, so what’s the point? He won’t be bothered’.
“The key point here, though, is that we want to make a statement showing that power is in numbers, and we can unite as fans and show our discontent at the way things are going.
“There’ll always be animosity towards Ashley, and with a back catalogue of bad decisions and the inability to replace key players in the transfer window, it will be hard for him to ever be liked by the fans.
“A new. ambitious owner would be ideal for the club, but I don’t feel as if that is the only option.
“Surely Ashley can’t be enjoying watching his team fall apart during games, and maybe he can turn things around and have a change of attitude towards his way of running the club.”
However, Sky Sports presenter Pete Graves, a Newcastle fan, has urged supporters not to boycott the Tottenham game.
He posted on Twitter: “#BoycottSpurs opinion is that #nufc need all fans to help them finish strong & stay up!
“I’m also told significant investment (is) planned. Boycotting games when league position is still not safe is surely not the answer. I will be at next #nufc game cheering them on.”
The club declined to comment on the situation.