Newcastle fan groups write open letter to Mike Ashley
Newcastle United fans have written an open letter to Mike Ashley.
The Magpie Group, formed this month by a network of supporters' groups, wants owner Ashley to back Rafa Benitez in the transfer market.
United manager Benitez has had to sell to buy so far this summer.
The group also wants Ashley – who is unwilling to put any more money into the club – to sell up.
True Faith, Ashley Out, NUFC Fans United, #IfRafaGoesWeGo, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust and Wor Flags are all involved in The Magpie Group, whose name pays homage to the protest group of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Dear Mr Ashley
You hold the hopes, expectations and fate of all Newcastle United fans in your hands. It has been over 10 years of broken promises. Two relegations, the embarrassment of Joe Kinnear and everything before, after and in between. Surely now – enough is enough?
Over the last six months a number of meetings and discussions have taken place between many Newcastle fan groups and organisations. We now all come together under one banner, The Magpie Group, and we are united in our common desire for Newcastle United to be a club to be proud of at the heart of our local community.
In May 2015 you said "from this day forward we will be making our own luck". These empty words have not been backed up with actions and relegation, once again, soon followed. It is clear now that it is in the best interests of both you and the future of Newcastle United that the club is sold.
We cannot speculate on the terms of takeover talks but we know from credible sources that talks have taken place and bids have been made. We cannot comment on the factors which must be taken into account in order to value the club but a number of things are now clear.
The new TV deal has been agreed and Newcastle United is in need of a major rebuilding project, from urgently required investment in the first team playing squad, to the need for significant investment to bring the club's training facilities and academy up to an acceptable standard following over 10 years of neglect on your watch.
If one word could sum up Newcastle United it is potential. A potential you have no interest in. We now have a world-class manager in Rafa Benitez who has united the fans for the first time in a long time, but this alone is not enough to counteract chronic neglect and under-investment under your ownership.
We need an owner that is prepared to back Rafa Benitez, not only by investing properly in the playing squad but by backing him to deliver the widespread change needed throughout the club from training ground to academy.
An owner who is not prepared to just release a manager invested in the club, city and community, when the opportunity arises.
If you cannot attract a buyer that meets your valuation then you must understand that this is because of the significant amount of investment now required to restore our football club to what it should be.
We have seen the reaction to the #IfRafaGoesWeGo movement and this has acted as a catalyst to bring the wider fan base together. We are all united in that we will do anything we can, both as groups and together as a fan base, to drive through a change in ownership.
Over to you, Mike. You have already admitted you are not the man to take the club forward. It is time to sell up and go.
You are only one man. We are a city.
We Are United.
The Magpie Group