Kevin Keegan has urged NUFC fans to ‘hang in there’ and continue supporting the club – saying he wouldn’t boycott games as ‘Newcastle United is bigger than anyone’.
As we’ve all seen in recent weeks, The Magpie Group have taken protests from Northumberland Street’s Sports Direct to outside St James’ Park itself, with hundreds turning up opposite the club shop (now run by Sports Direct) to make their feelings known before kick off.
Whilst Keegan is as ‘anti-Ashley’ as anyone connected to the club, he has urged fans to ‘hang in there’ and ‘keep going’ – saying he would not be able to boycott the club he loves:
“It’s been a difficult, difficult time for them because it is a special club. All clubs are special, but it’s special in a different way, Newcastle; it’s a one-club city and it means so much more,”
“We get 51,000 at Newcastle because the fans are all living in the area; and, if they aren’t, they’re all coming back from London. They’re Geordies coming home.
“I get why they won’t boycott games. I wouldn’t if I was them – because why should they? After a bad result on a Saturday, they’re immediately thinking: ‘I might boycott the game.’ But by Monday they’re thinking: ‘What am I going to do next Saturday (if I don’t go to the game)?’ And by Wednesday there’s only one place they’re going that Saturday, and it’s back to St James’ Park.”
“It’s a difficult time, but they have to hang in there because the club will be there when he’s (Ashley) is gone.
“Newcastle United is bigger than anyone. It hurts I know, but just keep going. He is only one man; we are a city, a whole population. Trust me.”
It’s a powerful and passionate message from Keegan.
Some fans will insist that the only way of getting rid of Ashley is to boycott, but Keegan is clearly wary of the position we may find ourselves in if St James’ Park did become a ghost town.
Right now, as frustrating as things are, we must focus most of our efforts on getting behind the team.
A time may well come when boycotting feels essential and the only way forward, but while we have a team this low on confidence and in the bottom three, any ‘negativity’ may only serve to set us back even further?