#BoycottArsenal – post-match statement.
We would like to say thank you to everyone that backed the boycott of today’s match and all of those fans who have expressed support and contributed to the demonstrations, organised by our collective of 10 Newcastle United supporter groups.
The action taken by the groups in our collective today was the first demonstration in a new supporter-led campaign with the objective of forcing Mike Ashley to find a genuine and ambitious buyer for Newcastle United Football Club.
The official attendance at St James’s Park today was reportedly 47,635 – this figure includes current season ticket holders, who may or may not have been at the game.
This represents an attendance of over 4,000 down on the first home league match at St James’s Park in the last two seasons.
A Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) survey last week found that 67 per cent of season ticket holders surveyed supported today’s boycott. We believe that thousands of season ticket holders chose to boycott today’s match, meaning the attendance was probably closer to 45,000, including travelling Arsenal fans.
In addition, around 10,000 former season ticket holders chose to cancel their season tickets ahead of the new season.
Despite the wet weather, around 300 supporters joined us in marching from Newcastle city centre to St James’s Park stadium and we are extremely grateful for these fans’ support.
Naturally, given our stance, we were hopeful of further numbers and are aware of the pull of a new season but we are steadfast in our belief that any form of protest needs to be ambitious and assertive – should Steve Bruce and the players produce this season, will they be sold quickly or ambition quelled? Given the past 12 years it seems certain.
Our fight against Mike Ashley isn’t going to be short and it isn’t going to be easy. Between the groups in our collective, we are committed to a long-term campaign which will not solely rely on fans boycotting games. As a group, we will be reviewing key successes from today and the challenges we are likely to face in the future, before announcing a course of action for the immediate future.
In the meantime, we are inviting other fan groups to join our collective and likeminded individual supporters who would like to get involved in our campaigning, to get in touch.
Our message to Mike Ashley remains the same: We are not going away. This will not blow over.
@EmptyForAshley / @IfRafaGoesWeGo / @MagpieGroupNUFC / @NWestMagpies / @LondonMagpies / @NUFCBlogcouk / @Ashleyoutdotcom / @NUFC360 / @Mike_Ashley_Out / @MaintainSJP