Newcastle United protest group, Toon For Change (formerly Empty For Ashley) is calling on supporters to boycott the club’s next home game against Brighton on Saturday 21st September.
The group, which is campaigning to force Mike Ashley to find a genuine buyer for NUFC, suggests that supporters can use the match as an opportunity to make games at St James’ Park less appealing to live broadcasters and show the footballing world that they are taking a stand against Ashley.
Joe Moore, a spokesperson for the group, said:
“There’s genuine momentum building in the protest movement against Mike Ashley and this has been clearly demonstrated by falling attendances at St James’s Park.
“There were mixed opinions about how successful the boycott of the home match against Arsenal was, but it was our lowest opening day Premier League attendance since 2011. Thousands chose to stay away.
“Last weekend’s match against Watford saw the attendance fall to a level that we haven’t seen since at a Premier League match since December 2012.
“So far this season, St James’s Park has been at 88% capacity, this is the lowest in the league. Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and other senior executives at the club will not be ignoring the pattern that is emerging. It will concern them, which shows that the supporters who are choosing to stay away and who want Ashley to sell the club, are winning.”
The group will again be partnering with local bars showing the match as part of its #SupportOurToon initiative.
Venues showing the game including Idols/Vaults, The Hancock, Players and Filthy’s offered fans boycotting the Arsenal match last month happy hour-style offers and discounts in support of the protest movement.
“Empty seats on live television makes St James’ Park less appealing to Sky and BT – if broadcasters stop paying to show live games at the stadium, Ashley loses a revenue stream.
“It shouldn’t have come to this – but it has. We’ve been left with no choice but to try and get the club we fell in love with back and if that means not going to St James’ for a period of time, it’s a sacrifice we as a group are willing to make.
“This isn’t about not supporting the players – we love our club, it’s about showing a global footballing audience that we are unwilling to continue supporting Ashley financially, while he doesn’t invest in the club appropriately.
“The extent of our ambition this season is survival. What can we get excited about? 17th place? We aren’t deluded, we just want our club to compete. We want genuinely ambitious owners.”