Well I guess I’d better get my apologising boots on and get in touch with Steve Wraith.
For those of you who don’t know, I was quite vocal about his claims that the signage above the East Stand was to be changed. I doubted it and laid into him a little over it and thought that he was just trying to stir up ill feeling. It appears that I was wrong.
Silly me for thinking that Mike Ashley wouldn’t go that far. I don’t even know why I even thought that in the first place but, as you can see from the picture, the wrecking job is nearly complete and we have the rather gaudy and incredibly tacky Sports Direct logo daubed on another part of our famous football stadium.
Now at this point I must stress that these images are as yet unconfirmed as nobody has seen them with the naked eye, but it really wouldn’t surprise me if they turned out to be genuine. A very large part of me wants it to be some clever sod with Photoshop, but I fear that I’d be pinning a lot of hope on a slim chance of that being the case.
When is it going to end though? It’s daubed all over the walls, the roof and just about everywhere else where you could imagine inside St James’ Park. I wouldn’t want to sit there and be faced with that and I wouldn’t be surprised if others felt the same. No wonder attendances are dropping.
A huge part of the problem is that we just don’t know if Sports Direct are paying for the privilege of having the name of their tat shop smeared all over St James’ Park. Knowing that there is cash coming into the club would at least add a bit of justification to the vast amount of different sized logos that are over the place. Not much, but a little.
We don’t know though, and that is what is irking me. Is this just a showcase to potential advertisers, still, or is this the way it’s going to be for a set specified amount of time? I’m honestly rather surprised that it wasn’t one of the questions put to the board last week.
At the end of the day it is Mike Ashley’s club and he can do what he likes with it. He has shown that dozens of times. We are just the once fortunate ones who have a severe emotional tie to the club. He needs to be careful though as with our emotional attachment comes financial commitment and if he pushes it too far he’ll start losing more of that.
I’ve said it before, but I’ve already ended my financial commitment to NUFC. As I type I sit here in old tatty Newcastle top and I simply refuse to buy another “official” one until something changes. The only cash I spend is what it costs to get me a match ticket away from home.
Some say that I’m cutting my nose off to spite my face by not going to St James’ Park and by not buying merchandise, but it makes me feel as though I’m doing something to register my displeasure. Words on the internet are pretty empty compared to cold, hard actions.
The problem is that it’s a pretty shallow protest when the man that you’re up against just doesn’t want to listen or communicate and, more importantly to him, has the money to not have to listen or communicate with little old me.
These signs may not have an impact on the players or our results. They may not be important to the manager as they set about trying to do their best by us and for themselves by getting it right on the pitch. They deserve our support, and they generally get out our support in fairness.
As for the man upstairs, I recognise he has done some good things at Newcastle, mainly because he had to, but I can’t back him. Not when he is showing a total disrespect to what is one of the largest, most committed and passionate fanbases there is.
Dastardly Derek said just a few days ago that Mike Ashley didn’t feel like backing the team as he didn’t like the abuse he gets. It’s a lack if respect from our fans sort of, I guess. But respect works two ways and needs to be earned.
And in that sense Ashley is hardly in credit is he?