PEOPLE in South Tyneside are being urged to back a Newcastle United supporters’ protest march against Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club before this Saturday’s home clash with Liverpool.
Time 4 Change, the group leading the march, is calling for supporters to say “enough is enough” and vote with their feet to call for a change in ownership at the club.
Fans will gather at the pedestrianised part of Northumberland Road, next to the City Hall at 10.30am – with the march kicking off half an hour later.
Supporters are being encouraged to bring along placards and banners to make clear their protest.
Match-going fans are being encouraged to wave white hankerchiefs as the teams take the pitch prior to kick-off – signalling their effort to call time on Mike Ashley’s time at the helm at St James’s Park.
Organisers have cited the club’s lack of ambition – with only loan player Loic Remy joining the squad this summer – a series of off-field leadership changes, and the club’s controversial Wonga sponsorship deal as the source of growing frustration.
Graeme Cansdale, a committee member of Time 4 Change, said: “We are appealing for as many fans to come along as possible. Even those who can’t make it to the protest can play a part by waving white handkerchiefs during the game.
“I reached my tipping point with Mike Ashley some time ago. The facts are we have the third largest support in England, the 10 largest in Europe and are the 20th richest club in Europe, yet the owners say they are happy to be a top ten club and aren’t making cup competitions a priority. Newcastle has a cup tradition.
“The march is a chance to say enough is enough. People are fed up. Every single fanzine has come out and backed us.
“This isn’t about the manager, who is just as much a victim of the regime, it is about the ownership.
“There has been a lot of apathy. Fans have had put up with a lot over the last six years, but the march has stirred up interest.”
With the game being broadcast live on television, Time 4 Change are eager to spread their message far and wide.
The group say they are determined to march will be a peaceful and good-humoured expression of their views.
The march has been sanctioned by both Newcastle City Council and the police, and will be accompanied by volunteer stewards and police, with rolling road closures in place along the route.
The march will finish at the bandstand at Leazes Park at about noon.
The Premier League game with Liverpool kicks off at 12.45pm.
A similar protest march was carried out by Liverpool fans’ group, The Spirit of Shankly, in 2008 against the Anfield club’s then-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.