The Sky Sports pundit has leapt to the defence of Newcastle fans after the club ignored protests to halt payments, accusing Ashley of playing with people’s livelihoods during such a difficult time.
He generally hits the nail on the head in his rant, but him revealing his “surprise” at Mike Ashley’s actions seem naive given this act of greed and carelessness is typical of the shameless NUFC owner.
Here’s what Merson told the Daily Star:
“For Newcastle to be charging fans £620 right now for next season’s season tickets is incredibly harsh.
“People’s livelihoods are at stake because of coronavirus and the restrictions, and football is suspended.
“It’s the worst possible time to be hitting people with a huge bill like that – one of the most loyal sets of supporters in the country too.
“I find it really surprising they’ve done that.
“It’s playing with people. I don’t think many other clubs would have done that.
“Premier League clubs have enough money in the bank to be helping their supporters out.
“Newcastle surely could have done something about this. They certainly have enough money to let people defer that payment.
“I think a lot of things will change after this and clubs will have to look at how they treat their supporters.
“There have been a lot of good stories coming out about clubs helping their communities and this is just the opposite.”
This comes after Sports Direct received massive criticism in recent days for their initial refusal to close down stores despite Government advice, as well as their sly move to hike up prices of sports equipment in a time of national crisis.
To slap supporters with a bill for next season seems totally unfair given that the current campaign is incomplete and up in the air.
Direct debit payments do usually come out around this time of year but the situation regarding COVID-19 does make this a whole lot different, and it is surprising that the club haven’t issued any statement whatsoever in light of the global pandemic.
I would expect Ashley to be reactive rather than proactive once again when it comes to this one.
If the criticism at his door becomes too much, expect him to make a drastic U-turn and apologise – like he has had to do many times before.
Actions speak louder than words.