*A joint statement from @AshleyOutdotcom, @TheMagpieGroup_, @IfRafaGoesWeGo, @EmptyForAshley, @NUFC360, @LondonMagpies, @Mike_Ashley_Out, @MaintainSjp, @NWestMagpies & @NUFCblogcouk*
A collective of ten Newcastle United supporter groups has announced its intention to march on St James’s Park, ahead of the club’s first match of the season against Arsenal – which the groups are calling on fans to boycott.
The peaceful protest march, which the groups describe as fans making a loud, visible stand against Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club is set to begin at Sports Direct’s Northumberland Street store in Newcastle City Centre at 1pm before reaching its end point at the St James’s Park club shop at around 1.30pm.
The collective, which includes The Magpie Group, If Rafa Goes We Go, AshleyOut.com and Empty for Ashley is encouraging supporters to join them in a protest outside the club shop from 1.30pm until kick-off at 2pm.
Last week, the groups announced their ‘Support Our Toon’ initiative, which sees the collective encouraging fans to watch games at local venues, rather than at the stadium itself.
The supporter groups have teamed up with a number of popular local bars and restaurants including Idols/Vaults, Players and Filthys on food and drinks discounts across the afternoon.
Joe Halliday – a spokesperson for Empty for Ashley (one of the groups organising the protests) said:
“We’re calling on fans to not only boycott the Arsenal match, but to join us in making a loud, visible stand against Mike Ashley’s ownership of our football club. It’s time for him to realise that he is not welcome at our football club – and he is not welcome in our city.
“On the 11th of August, the eyes of the footballing world will be on St James’s Park – this is our opportunity to make it clear that enough is enough. It’s time for Mike Ashley to sell our club to a party that wants to take it forward – and it’s time for supporters who agree to take a united stand against him.
“As a collective of ten groups, we are absolutely committed to a sustained, co-ordinated and long-term campaign with the sole objective of driving Mike Ashley out of Newcastle United Football Club. Boycotting the Arsenal match is not a one-off and Mr Ashley needs to understand that this will not blow over.”
For more information about the groups and their objectives, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.